Update, 8:20pm ET: EA issued an apology on Thursday after rapper Big Sean accused the game maker of censoring his song in new video game The game maker took full responsibility for the song’s edit and issued a statement to Ars Technica on Thursday:
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 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.
EA regularly censors curse words from the songs in its video game soundtracks, but the game maker has apparently engaged in a different kind of song censorship this week—and the censored rapper in question isn’t happy about it.
Big Sean took to Twitter on Thursday to accuse EA and the NFL of censoring a line in the YG song “Big Bank,” which also features 2 Chainz and Nicki Minaj. The censorship became apparent after early access to went live for EA Origin subscribers that day, and the game’s version specifically silences Big Sean’s reference to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The removal is particularly ironic given its use in the song. Big Sean’s uncensored line, in a verse about coming up as a success, describes his contemporaries as “all cap” (meaning, inauthentic or phony) and responds by calling himself “more Kaepernick.” This line-silencing cannot be found in the “radio edit” of the single. Because the silencing leaves the song’s instrumental track intact, it was originally unclear whether the censorship came from the song’s producers or label Def Jam Productions. Big Sean’s response makes clear that neither party was responsible for the censorship.
Big Sean tagged both the NFL and EA in his call-out of the censorship, though neither group has issued a formal response to his allegation that it was responsible. Kaepernick later retweeted Big Sean’s callout and added his own commentary: “Much love brother! Thank you for having my back!”
EA Sports introduced “live commentary” to the 2016 release of , in which new, timely play-by-play dialogue was uploaded on a weekly basis to enliven virtual recreations of NFL match-ups. These included specific callouts to Kaepernick’s original decision to kneel for the national anthem during NFL games, which has since inspired other NFL stars to follow suit—and drawn responses from the NFL, President Trump, and seemingly everyone in between.