Even though it’s been a long time since he’s been on the field, the NFL just can’t get out from under the cloud that is Colin Kaepernick.
It was reported last week Kaepernick’s name was edited out of a song in the soundtrack of the video game “Madden NFL 19,” which is set to release today.
His name has since been put back in after the discovery went viral on Twitter.
The song “Big Bank” features YG, 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Nicki Minaj.
The lyric by Big Sean reads, “Feed me to the wolves now I lead the pack and s***. You boys all cap, I’m more Colin Kaepernick.”
But rather than hearing Kaepernick’s name, it was scrubbed as if it were a curse word.
On Twitter, Big Sean responded by tweeting, “It’s disappointing and appalling @NFL &@EA took @Kaepernick7’s name out of my verse on Big Bank for Madden 19, like it was a curse word. When he’s not a curse, he’s a gift! Nobody from my team approved any of this.”
YG tweeted, in all caps, “ON MY DAUGHTER. THEY AINT RUN THAT BY ME. THATS KOLD.”
In a statement by EA Sports, the video game developer stated it was “an unfortunate mistake.”
The statement continued saying while the company doesn’t have the right to include Kaepernick as a playable entity in the game, those rights do not affect including his name in a song.
“We messed up, and the edit should have never happened,” said EA Sports spokesman Will Alexander in an email to the Washington Post.
“We meant no disrespect, and we apologize to Colin, to YG and Big Sean, to the NFL, to all of their fans and our players for this mistake.”
If this was a one-time offense, I would tend to believe it was a mistake. But, this is not the case.
In EA Sports’ Madden 18 soundtrack, Kaepernick’s name was omitted from the song “Bars Of Soap” by Mike WiLL Made-It featuring Swae Lee.
The lyric reads, “She be hopin’ that I take a knee like Kaepernick.” But just like in Big Sean’s line, the name was edited out.
So, this happened two years in a row. Was this done on purpose? And, were the orders handed down by the NFL?
TV personality Nessa Diab, who is also Kaepernick’s girlfriend, made such an accusation.
She tweeted, “They did mean it, bc they did it TWICE. @EASPORTS @EA MaddenNFL TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS you scrubbed @Kaepernick7’s name from songs. Last year it was “Bars of Soap” &this year “Big Bank.” Who told them to do the scrubbing? Was it the @nfl?”
Whether or not it was intentional, it does appear as if the NFL — or someone or something — is attempting to erase Kaepernick off the grid, even though he hasn’t seen an NFL field since the 2016-17 season.
And in case you’re a football fan who has been living under a rock for the last couple of years, or perhaps you’re simply not aware of the situation, here’s why:
– During that 2016 season, Kaepernick — who at the time was the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers — began protesting against social injustices on the field before NFL games, at first by sitting during the national anthem but then began kneeling.
– Kaepernick, and other players who followed his lead including former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, have since received backlash from those believing their protest is disrespectful to the national anthem and to the military — perhaps the most famous individual to publicly criticize the protest and the NFL is President Donald Trump.
– After opting out of his contract to become a free agent after the 2016-17 season, Kaepernick has since not signed with another team and remains a free agent. He though has shown on social media that he is still working out and hopes to play in the NFL again.
– Though not factually-proven, many believe Kapernick has been blacklisted from the NFL because of the protest, which is why he hasn’t played another down in the league despite having once led the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth. In Oct. 2017, Kaepernick and Reid filed grievances against the NFL alleging team owners and the league colluded to prevent both players from being signed because of their protest.
– Currently, the NFL and the players union’ are negotiating whether kneeling during the anthem is an appropriate way to protest. Last month, the rule to discipline players who knelt during the anthem was approved by the team owners, and then it was soon after suspended by the league and the players’ union.
– That decision to suspend the rule came after the Associated Press reported the Miami Dolphins, under team policy, would suspend players who protested during the anthem up to four games. After the policy became public, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he hasn’t decided whether he’d actually enforce said policy.
And now, here we are. The NFL preseason is underway, and the eve of the regular season will soon be upon us.
Kaepernick and Reid are still unemployed, even though their talent clearly isn’t the reason, and people on both sides are still furiously screaming at each other over the anthem protest.
(And just so we’re straight, I side with letting the players protest, or stay in the locker room, during the anthem if they want. It’s their First Amendment right. Don’t @ me.)
And, though I’m sure Kaepernick’s protest had no intention of trickling down to the EA’s Madden franchise, it did affect a video game — a frigging video game.
Not THE game, but the video game (cue Allen Iverson’s “practice” sound bite).
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.