Despite a new NFL policy passed by the owners to attempt to discourage players from kneeling during the pre-game playing of the national anthem, you just know it’s going to be a subject that comes up in week one and beyond. In Madden 19, however, it won’t be an issue at all. According to producer Ben Haumiller, Madden 19 will completely avoid the subject.
“We work very closely with the NFL and the NFLPA. We work very closely about how we want to represent the game, and really make it a celebration of the sport,” he told Gamespot. “And maybe a place where you don’t have to … you love the game, but you don’t have to worry about everything else that’s going on that might be distractions from [the reason] you’re trying to be here–it’s about the game.”
Madden 19 will still feature a pre-game presentation, and it’ll remain largely the same as it has been in previous years. You’ll see cuts of the stadium along with the players running out of the tunnel. Haumiller added, “We really want to get you to the gameplay,” which is honestly a pretty good reason. Does anyone actually watch the pre-game presentation in their Madden games?
As for what’s going on in the NFL, this year the NFL instituted a policy that requires all players on the field to stand during the national anthem. Should they be on the field and kneel, their respective team will receive a fine (and their team can, in turn, fine them). Players do have the option to remain in the locker room during the anthem should they so choose and that would avoid any sort of fine or penalty.
As for the commentary in the game, which is updated on a regular basis, it will likely avoid any talk about the kneeling issue.
In all honesty, this is probably the best approach for EA. Despite NFL players making it clear the protest is about social issues and not the actual anthem or military, many fans have taken offense to their kneeling. By completely avoiding the topic, EA refusing to take a side, although you can argue by not highlighting the issue they are sweeping it under the rug and, in a roundabout sort of way, not discouraging the false idea that the protests are anti-military.
Do you agree with EA’s decision to ignore the kneeling issue and instead focus on getting to the gameplay quicker in Madden 19?