EA Sports provided USgamer a statement regarding the situation surrounding Kaepernick's name being edited out of a song lyric featured in Madden 19, calling it "an unfortunate mistake." The full statement is below:
We made an unfortunate mistake with our Madden NFL soundtrack. Members of our team misunderstood the fact that while we don’t have rights to include Colin Kaepernick in the game, this doesn’t affect soundtracks. We messed up, and the edit should never have happened. We will make it right, with an update to Madden NFL 19 on August 6 that will include the reference again. We meant no disrespect, and we apologize to Colin, to YG and Big Sean, to the NFL, to all of their fans and our players for this mistake.
Colin Kaepernick has been a free agent in the NFL since 2016 when the NFL distanced itself from Kaepernick after he began protesting police injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. But that distancing might have gone to new lows after it was discovered that even Kaepernick's name has been censored in Madden NFL 19.
Considering Kaepernick hasn't played on an NFL team since 2016 it's not a huge surprise to find out that he's not actually in Madden NFL 19. But he makes an indirect appearance in Madden 19 in the lyrics of YG's "Big Bank," which is on the Madden 19 soundtrack. Or at least Kaepernick was supposed to get a shoutout in the song if his name wasn't seemingly edited out.
The omission was discovered by @jeanclervil who posted a video of the edited lyric on Twitter. You can hear the strange blanked out lyric in the video posted above. The lyric is supposed to go, "You boys all cap, I'm more Colin Kaepernick." Instead you hear a strange cut right after 'cap' before the song picks up awkwardly with "I'm rare as affordable health care."
Big Sean, who contributed the Kaepernick line to YG's track responded on Twitter about his disappointment with Madden 19 for removing the reference to the quarterback from the song.
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
We contacted EA about the censored lyric but have yet to receive a response. It's unclear who decided to make the edit because as Waypoint notes, the clean radio edit of the song leaves Colin Kaepernick's name intact. So this is presumably a new edit of the song.
The NFL has made it clear it does not tolerate Kaepernick's call for peaceful protest first by distancing the organization from the quarterback, and later by attempting to prevent players kneeling during the national anthem. The NFL Players Association pushed back against the latter and the no kneeling rule is currently on hold.
It's ironic considering that our Madden 19 review talked about the game's improved realism, but it seems that commitment might not extend to all aspects of the game. We also have a Madden 19 guide, but we'll tell you if we find a way to un-censor Kaepernick's name on the soundtrack.