Colin Kaepernick has yet to make an official return to the NFL, but today, EA Sports announced that the quarterback will be returning to the Madden NFL franchise, and will be available in Madden NFL 21 starting today.
Kaepernick – who remains unsigned by any NFL team – hasn’t been included in the virtual game since 2016, when the quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem to protest both racial inequality and police brutality in the United States. Kaepernick will be slotted into the game as a free agent, and is rated an 81, putting him among among the top 15 best quarterbacks in the game as of today.
“Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback,” the company said in a statement released on Twitter. “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.”
— Madden NFL 21 (@EAMaddenNFL) September 8, 2020
The “soundtrack mistakes” reference the fact that during the launch of Madden NFL 19, Kaepernick’s name was seemingly edited out of one of the song’s used in the games soundtrack. Shortly after it became known, EA Sports released an update to the game to correct the mistake, saying that the company “messed up” and it shouldn’t have happened.
Kaepernick made his debut in the Madden NFL franchise in 2011, and quickly became one of the biggest names for the game and NFL. During his time in the NFL, Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance and was regarded by many as one of the most electric quarterbacks in the league. However, Kaepernick’s protest against racial inequality quickly became a hot topic, leading to many teams reportedly trying to distance themselves from the quarterback after his time with San Francisco.
According to a report from The Undefeated, EA Sports approached Kaepernick over the summer about getting his likeness back into the game. Kaepernick was reportedly hands-on in determining how his avatar was to be used, including requesting that his character sport an afro and use a Black Power fist as his signature celebration.
Players looking to play with the quarterback can find him in the game starting today, where he’ll be listed as a free agent and able to be assigned freely to any team.