Left-wing social justice activist and former professional football quarterback Colin Kaepernick is finally making the NFL comeback he and his fans have been dreaming of — in Madden NFL 2021, that is.
According to a surprise statement released Tuesday by video game publisher Electronic Arts, a digital update to the latest annual installment of its popular football franchise will see Kaepernick return to the virtual gridiron for the first time in three years.
“Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback,” EA said. “The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.”
“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,” the company said. “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.”
A prominent mobile quarterback who had success early in his career, Kaepernick had entered the 2016 season on the mend from three separate surgeries and lost the 49ers starting job to journeyman Blaine Gabbert. He replaced Gabbert in Week 6 but led the team to just one victory in 11 starts.
Kaepernick underperformed in two of his last three seasons in San Francisco, and other teams were not clamoring to sign him as a free agent.
Of course, there was another possible reason for that: Kaepernick had caused a substantial stir throughout the course of the 2016 season, kneeling for the national anthem during televised games in protest against several prominent officer-involved shootings of black men, which the athlete and numerous other justice activists alleged were part of systemic racially motivated abuse perpetrated by American law enforcement against minorities.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” the quarterback told reporters at the time.
In addition to his divisive anthem protests, he alienated fans by wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs and a T-shirt featuring Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro.
Unsigned in free agency, Kaepernick suggested league leaders were colluding to keep him from playing as a result of his public political stances — a claim for which the athlete eventually filed a grievance against the NFL and received a settlement, according to Yahoo! Sports.
He would go on to do nothing short of sabotage several major opportunities to re-enter professional football in 2019, however, making a series of outlandish location and publicity demands when offered opportunities to work out before NFL scouts and requesting a $20 million contract when approached to play in two upstart spring leagues, the Alliance of American Football and XFL.
Three years in self-imposed exile apparently did little to change Kaepernick’s stock in the eyes of Electronic Arts, however, as headlines whirled in light of his Madden 21 return announcement indicating his virtual persona would carry an overall rating higher than that of 16 current league starters, OutKick reported.
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Kaepernick’s 81 out of 99 overall rating puts the controversial athlete on par with two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as several steps ahead of 2015 league MVP Cam Newton of the New England Patriots and rising stars such as Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals.
More baffling yet is the fact that this rating exceeds the one given to Kaepernick during his last appearance in the series: He was rated at just 74 in Madden 17, The Undefeated reported.
EA’s Madden 21 itself, however, is unable to boast such generous ratings.
According to MetaCritic, professional reviewers rate the roughly one-month-old game as “mixed or average,” with only 63 percent approval. Fans have been even less kind, rating the game with an abysmal score of 0.2 out of 10.
Don’t you worry, though, Kaep is back and comes complete with a black power fist touchdown celebration.
How exactly Electronic Arts expects something as divisive as that to fix the game’s floundering reputation remains incomprehensible.
But hey, maybe this desperate attempt at virtue signaling will generate positive press with the left-wing mob and move a couple of copies — or at least make the game a more likely target for theft in the next slew of social justice riots and lootings.
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