Colin Kaepernick, the socially active quarterback who felt the ire of racists everywhere for his nonviolent protests of police brutality, has returned to the Madden football series after a years-long absence.
The Madden NFL 21 dev team revealed the roster change came this week as part of a recent patch ahead of a larger final roster update due Thursday to coincide with kickoff.
Kaepernick will open the season as a free agent in the game with an overall rating of 81, making him the highest rated free agent QB on standard rosters. Players can add him to any roster of their choosing, and of course if he does sign with a team during the real-life regular season, which begins this Thursday, September 10, he will be added to that team in a future update for Play Now game modes.
Additionally, a Nike Kaepernick black on black jersey will be added to The Yard for players to customize their avatars with it should they so choose. Kaepernick will also come with his own on-field celebration, a single raised fist as a symbol of Black Power. Here's more from the team:
Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game. We’ve had a long relationship with Colin through Madden NFL and worked through our past soundtrack mistakes.
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. We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.
Starting today in Madden NFL 21, fans can put Colin Kaepernick at the helm of any NFL team in Franchise mode, as well as play with him in Play Now. We look forward to seeing Colin on Madden NFL teams everywhere.
To celebrate all of these changes, Madden NFL 21 will be free to play this weekend on all platforms.
Kaepernick began protesting police brutality in 2016 by sitting for the National Anthem played before NFL games. After speaking to soldiers, he shifted to kneeling instead, as they suggested it would be more respectful while still getting his point across. Sadly, countless spectators and commentators have, knowingly or unknowingly, misunderstood his message and have denigrated him for protesting the military or the song itself, both of which aren't what he has done, but the symbolism is lost on some people.
Kaepernick has been quietly blackballed from the league as a result, despite his prospects at QB being much more promising than several other backup and even starting QBs over the past few seasons. Following the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing nightly protests across the country, the NFL has since changed its tone regarding Kaepernick, from a taboo subject to the commissioner himself inviting teams to sign the former Super Bowl QB and admitting he didn't understand Kap's stance previously.
Surely if a mega-corporation like EA is willing to celebrate a move like this and not avoid it or quietly roll it out, it signals a societal shift for the better where fewer people are misunderstanding the nonviolent protests. There remains a shrinking group of racists and bad-faith actors still opposed to Kap's actions, but their influence is thankfully dissipating.