Colin Kaepernick: Ex-San Francisco 49ers quarter-back added to Madden NFL 21

By Ciaran VarleyBBC Sport
Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick was a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers

Free agent Colin Kaepernick may not have played in the NFL for four years, but he is to be included as a player in the Madden NFL 21 game.

In 2016, while at the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick began kneeling during the US national anthem to highlight racial inequality and since then, sports stars from around the world have joined him in protesting with the same gesture.

Kaepernick has not featured in the computer game since the 2016 season, after which he opted out of his contract with the 49ers.

"Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-calibre quarterback," the game's developer EA Sports said on Tuesday.

"We want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin's position and talent, rates him as a starting quarterback, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football."

There has been plenty of speculation as to why the athlete and activist has not been picked by a team since 2016. He has said previously he is "still ready" to play in the NFL, despite his long absence.

In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against NFL owners, because he believed the team owners were conspiring to not hire him because of his protests. That grievance came to a settlement in February 2019.

The NFL has changed its position on protests during Kaepernick's absence from the league. In May 2018, the organisation introduced a rule which meant teams would be fined if players kneeled during the national anthem.

In June this year, the organisation made a U-turn, saying that players should be allowed to protest during the national anthem.

The decision by the game's makers to include Kaepernick in this year's edition of Madden NFL reflects an opinion that he is still among the top players in the country.

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