Colin Kaepernick, still out of the league in real life, is back in ‘Madden NFL 21’

Colin Kaepernick returns to the "Madden NFL" franchise as a free agent quarterback.
(Twitter / @EAMaddenNFL)

Colin Kaepernick is back and he’s playing for ... any team you want.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and social activist still hasn’t been picked up by any real-life NFL team. But he is now available to players of “Madden NFL 21” as a free agent, the makers of the popular video game franchise announced Tuesday.

“Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback,” EA Sports said in a statement. “The team at EA sports, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.”


Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season and the NFC championship game the next year, refused to stand during the national anthem during the 2016 season as a protest against social injustice and police brutality.

He became a free agent the following year and hasn’t played in the NFL since. A collusion grievance, filed by Kaepernick and former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, who also protested, against the league in 2017, was settled last year.

EA Sports, which noted Kaepernick’s protests in commentary within “Madden NFL” that season, said it lost the rights to Kaepernick’s likeness after 2016.

After George Floyd’s death, the NFL apologized for not doing enough to fight racial injustice, but it needs to restore what it stole from Colin Kaepernick.

The versions of the game that came out in 2017 and 2018 each featured a different song that had Kaepernick’s name edited out of the lyrics. The company later apologized, stating that “members of our team misunderstood the fact that while we don’t have rights to include Colin Kaepernick in the game, this doesn’t affect soundtracks.”

EA Sports approached Kaepernick this summer to obtain the rights to include his likeness in the game. So now he is back.

“Knowing that our EA sports experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin’s position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football,” the company stated.

“We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”