EA has strengthened its control over NFL gaming by renewing its exclusive rights to the NFL last week until 2026, and tomorrow, June 1st was supposed to be a culmination of this, and a celebration of Madden, football, and the new Madden game this fall which will hopefully accompany the 2020-21 NFL season. The event has been postponed, however, and not for the reasons that most events have been postponed in recent months.
An official statement from EA SPORTS pic.twitter.com/MKdgJjvKJB
— Madden NFL 20 (@EAMaddenNFL) May 31, 2020
Much like Nike recently urged the world “For once, Don’t Do It” in order to spread awareness and try to convince people that being “not racist” isn’t enough, that we all have to be actively anti-racist, especially in the wake of the most recent murder of a black man by police. As the protests inspired by the murder of George Floyd sweep the country, EA has decided that now is not the time to celebrate anything and that it’s not game time. Their statement reads “It’s Game Time” with Game crossed out, and is followed by this:
Tomorrow, we had committed to celebrating Madden NFL 21 with you, but we’re not going to do that now.
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.
Some have protested that now is the perfect time to celebrate another black man by announcing Lamar Jackson as the cover athlete (this has only been announced by the MVP himself casually in an interview, EA has not announced this yet), but EA has decided that some things are bigger than football and video games.
As of now, there has been no word on a release date, but Madden 21 is still expected to release in August as it typically does.