July 17 (UPI) — EA Sports’ Madden NFL series will no longer include the Washington NFL team’s nickname and logo after the franchise announced forthcoming changes earlier this week.
The video game developer is altering this year’s Madden NFL 21 release at the last minute to remove Washington’s nickname and controversial imagery, according to ESPN and Kotaku. Instead, the game will feature a generically named Washington team until a new name and logo are announced.
Madden NFL 21 is set to release Aug. 25.
“We are pleased to see Washington’s decision to change their team name and visual identity,” an Electronic Arts representative said in a statement Friday. “We are quickly working to update Madden NFL 21 to feature a generic Washington team, while we await final word on the updated team name and logo design.”
When buyers pick up the physical copy of the popular football game, it will still feature Washington’s old nickname and logo because discs are already in production. Those references will be patched out of the game automatically once a user connects the system to the internet.
“The first changes will be available to our EA Access players and will include audio/commentary updates; motion graphics and presentation updates; stadium art, environments, crowd gear and signage updates; and uniform updates,” EA said.
“Players may continue to see some outdated Washington references in other areas of the game at launch, but we are committed to removing all of those from the game in additional title updates coming shortly after launch.”
On Monday, Washington announced it would change its team name ahead of the upcoming NFL season, but no new nickname was revealed. The organization’s decision to retire the nickname comes amid pressure from several sponsors, including FedEx, Nike, Amazon and PepsiCo.
FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo each received letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth more than $600 billion asking the companies to disassociate from the NFL franchise unless it changes the controversial team name. Some retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, also have stopped selling Washington merchandise.
Along with pressure from sponsors, Washington’s three minority shareholders are currently attempting to sell their interests in the team due to their unhappiness being partners with majority owner Daniel Snyder. According to ESPN, the minority shareholders recently hired the investment bank Moag & Company to find potential buyers.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that 15 former female employees accused multiple members of the Washington NFL team, including former scouts and members of Snyder’s inner circle, of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
Among those accused of misconduct are former radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael, former director of pro personnel Alex Santos and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann III, the report said. All three left the franchise within the past week.
Former President of business operations Dennis Greene and former Chief Operating Officer Mitch Gershman also were accused of misconduct, according to the Post.
Snyder said Friday that behavior described in the report “has no place” in the franchise.