A Madden NFL 21 trailer planned for 1 June will be delayed by EA in a stance of support towards the “African American / Black community of friends, players, colleagues and partners” and ongoing George Floyd protests, the publisher has declared.
“Tomorrow, we had committed to celebrating Madden NFL 21 with you, but we’re not going to do that now,” a statement posted to Twitter begins.
“We stand with our African American / Black community of friends, players, colleagues and partners. Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change against the unjust treatment and systemic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world.
“We’ll find another time to talk football with you. Because this is bigger than a game, bigger than sports, and needs all of us to stand together and commit to change.”
Protests all across the United States — and beyond — started last week in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer restrained him by pressing his knee into his neck for several minutes. Recorded by bystanders, Floyd repeatedly tells the officer that he cannot breathe.
The police officer responsible, Derek Chauvin, has previously been involved in the fatal shooting of another person and has received at least 17 complaints of excessive force over his career. Chauvin and three colleagues were shortly fired after video of the arrest was circulated, and Chauvin now faces charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
NFL response seen as hypocritical
The NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, also released a statement in the wake of Floyd’s death, drawing criticism from players and fans alike.
“The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel,” Goodell’s statement begins.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.
“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
Users on social media were quick to call Goodall’s last paragraph hypocritical, tying it to a contoversy back in 2016 where Colin Kaepernick protested the treatment of minorities in the USA by non-violently kneeling during the National Anthem. Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since that season.
Madden NFL itself has been in hot water as a result of Kaepernick’s protests, criticised by fans when it was discovered that Madden NFL 19 censored Kaepernick’s name in its soundtrack. EA was quick to point out the censorship was a mistake.
Madden NFL 21 heads to Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PS5 later this year.