On August 2, a tweet went viral concerning the censorship of Colin Kaepernick’s name in a song on the latest Madden 19 soundtrack. The song in question is YG’s “Big Bank,” one of the songs of the summer. “Big Bank” features guest verses from Nicki Minaj and 2 Chainz, but it was Big Sean’s guest verse from which the controversy arose. The lyric reads: “Feed me to the wolves, now I lead the pack and shit/You boys all cap, I’m more Colin Kaepernick.”
It is a simple line that positions Colin as a leader in an industry where he has been blacklisted and demonized. There was truly no harm done, yet Madden decided to censor his name from the song. Just one of the videos proving the censorship reached almost one million views on Twitter alone. As the egregious action gained more traction and more people demanded Colin’s name be uncensored, Madden’s official Twitter account posted this apology later that day:
Madden knew exactly what they were doing by censoring Colin’s name in “Big Bank,” they thought that by doing this they would erase the movement Colin sparked. If blacklisting Kaep couldn’t kill the kneeling and the demanding that the NFL be held more accountable for their treatment black protest, erasing his name from a song sure as hell wouldn’t make a dent in the movement. What Madden did here is indicative of a larger practice that the United States of America has been guilty of for decades upon decades. The U.S. has this inexplicable belief that ignoring problems is the way to fix them.
Our 20+ trillion debt problem? Let’s spend more on the military and the problem will fix itself! The ridiculous student loans system? Let’s hire Betsy DeVos, the absolute worst person for the job! Black people keep getting killed in cold blood and the police don’t know how to not use excessive force? Let’s ignore that one too! If the U.S. isn’t ignoring a problem, they apply quick little fixes in hoped that it will fix the problem for the time being. It’s like applying a band-aid to an amputated leg.
The worst part of it all is that the censorship was done unbeknownst to YG or Big Sean. So it was either EA, the NFL, or the producers of Madden made the decision. Big Sean tweeted “It’s disappointing and appalling [that the] NFL & EA took [Colin Kaepernick’s] name out of my verse on Big Bank for Madden 19 like it was a curse word. When he’s not a curse, he’s a gift! Nobody from my team approved any of this.” I couldn’t agree more, censorship implies that Kaepernick’s name and what he stands for is obscene, dirty, and unfit for mass consumption. If the EA/Madden/NFL believes that protesting that America stays true to its promise of “liberty and justice for all” is obscene or dirty, then clearly they are a part of the problem.
Censorship will not stop Colin Kaepernick, especially not the age of social media. This entire incident has added yet another point to add to the list of reasons why the NFL (as an organization) is hot garbage. If you want to be on the right side of history, stand with Kaep.