Electronic Arts censored Colin Kaepernick’s name out of a song used in an upcoming release of Madden NFL 19 — and it isn’t the first time it has happened.
The track used in the forthcoming Madden game, YG’s “Big Bank,” mentions the controversial NFL quarterback in the line. But EA seems to have censored his name as they did in Madden 18, according to a report by Deadspin that followed the issue being raised by a fan on social media.
— Mr. Changing Lives (@jeanclervil) August 2, 2018
In a statement to Deadspin, an EA spokesperson apologized and said Kaepernick’s name was censored by mistake due to a misunderstanding about legal use of the free agent’s name and likeness. The company said the quarterback’s name would be restored to the soundtrack, which will be updated for the game’s August 6 release. EA did not respond to Fortune‘s request for comment.
Big Sean, who was featured on the YG track and sang the verse in which Kaepernick’s name was bleeped out, also took to social media to express his displeasure.
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.
— Sean Don (@BigSean) August 2, 2018
In response, Kaepernick, who has gained widespread attention for his kneeling protests against police brutality and racial discrimination during league games, gave a shout-out to Big Sean.
Much love brother! Thank you for having my back!✊🏾 https://t.co/yKz3nBMiPb
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 2, 2018
The Madden series is one of the video game industry’s most popular franchises. Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 as a way to protest racial injustice in the U.S., is currently a free agent. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2016. Kaepernick filed a collusion complaint against the NFL in Oct. 2017, claiming the owners banded together and agreed not to hire him as a punishment for leading the wave of anthem-kneeling protests that has engulfed the league in controversy. The soundtrack snub could support Kaepernick’s case, says Sports Illustrated‘s Michael McCann.