Colin Kaepernick is still not in an NFL uniform as the 2020 season approaches.

But per EA Sports in a release that dropped on Tuesday, he will be a part of Madden 21.

“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 release reads, in part. “We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”

That last sentence is a big deal — as The Undefeated notes, the company had to work with Kaepernick to get his likeness into the game again:

According to EA Sports, after Kaepernick became a free agent following the 2016 NFL season, he was not included in the group licensing agreement, which is negotiated through the NFL Players Association, meaning Madden lost the rights to the quarterback’s likeness. Thus, Kaepernick did not appear in Madden 18Madden 19 or Madden 20. …

This past summer, ahead of the release of Madden 21, EA Sports approached Kaepernick to negotiate the rights to his likeness so that he could return to the game for the first time in four years. According to multiple sources familiar with the negotiations, Kaepernick was “hands-on” in determining exactly how his avatar was depicted in Madden 21. EA Sports confirmed that Kaepernick requested that his player in the game wear an Afro — an update from his most recent head image in 2016 that portrayed him in Madden 17 with cornrows. Also, according to multiple sources, Kaepernick weighed in heavily on his avatar’s signature celebration — a Black Power fist — to reflect how he celebrated scoring plays the last time he took to the real-life football field during the 2016 NFL season.

This move comes two years after Kaepenick’s name was edited out of Big Sean’s verse in a song included on the Madden 19 soundtrack, Big Bank, a move ripped by many including Big Sean himself. EA Sports later said it had made “an unfortunate mistake.”

The timing also coincides with weeks filled with heavy criticism about Madden 21 and the countless glitches that are popping up. There’s also this fact about how Nike’s stock rose when it launched a Kaepernick campaign:

Even if it’s a decision that’s good for the business and marketing of a much-panned video game, there’s a silver lining here: it reminds us that Kaepernick still isn’t wearing an NFL uniform, that his fight for racial equality and against injustice cost him his job.

As my colleague Steven Ruiz recently wrote, it’s too late for the NFL to make up for blackballing Kaepernick. But maybe having him in the game brings the awareness that Kaepernick’s fight — and that of countless others — is far from over.

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