EA Sports Madden NFL 25 will not include Aaron Hernandez when it is released this August. The former New England Patriot tight end is being removed from the game as a result of the pending murder charges against him.
The other EA Sports football video game franchise, NCAA Football 14 also will remove Hernandez likeness from its game with a soon to be released update. Currently Hernandez image is on an unlockable achievement card in the game, but he is not a playable character.
EA Sports announced its decision to move forward with its football franchises this year without the inclusion of Hernandez in an official statement,per Bleacher Report:
“We made a decision to remove Aaron Hernandez from Madden NFL 25 and NCAA Football 14. Because NCAA Football 14 was finalized prior to our decision, Hernandez’ image still appears in the Nike Skills Trainer. However, he is not in the game, and anyone who unlocks that particular Nike Skills Trainer reward will receive an Alex Smith Ultimate Team player item instead. The image of Hernandez will be removed via a Title Update in the near future.”
Controversy as to the inclusion of Hernandez begun on Monday after Richard Lowe tweeted a photo of the Hernandez card from NCAA Football 14.
Technically this doesn’t have to spell the absolute end to Aaron Hernandez avatar in EA Sports titles, he could be reinserted into the game if he ever is acquitted of the charges, or is picked up by an NFL franchise.
Being signed by another NFL team certainly appears unlikely given the situation he currently finds himself in. If anyone were to attempt to claim him off waivers, which technically they are allowed to do, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would have to grant permission to that franchise before they could do so.
Other NFL players who have been removed from EA Sports titles while facing legal troubles include Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress. Both of these men were convicted of their crimes prior to their removal, however the decision to remove Hernandez from the video games does not exactly shock anyone.
Hernandez legal troubles include being charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd as well as being considered a suspect in a 2012 double murder.
EA Sports removing Hernandez from its titles is simply the latest attempt by the sporting world to distance itself from the former star tight end. The New England Patriots recently offered an exchange program for anyone who had purchased a Hernandez jersey at their store.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express