EA Sports announced Tuesday that it has added the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to the 2021 edition of its “Madden” video game series, marking the first time since 2016 that Kaepernick has appeared in one of the games.
“Knowing that our EA SPORTS experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin’s position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football,” the company said in a tweet. “We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”
Kaepernick has an overall rating of 81 in the game, which ranks him higher than current NFL starters Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill, Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, according to TMZ.
No NFL team has signed Kaepernick since 2016, when he famously began kneeling during the national anthem at football games to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
However, EA Sports said the decision not to include Kaepernick in its video games wasn’t connected to that specifically.
The game company told The Undefeated that he was not included in the group licensing agreement for “Madden,” which is negotiated through the NFL Players Association, once he became a free agent. Since the company didn’t have the rights to Kaepernick’s likeness, he didn’t appear in “Madden 18,” “Madden 19” or “Madden 20.”
EA Sports decided to change things with the release of “Madden 21,” and negotiated with Kaepernick to bring him back to the game.
Kaepernick reportedly asked for his avatar to wear an Afro and for his signature celebration to be a Black Power fist.