Madden NFL video game to remove Jon Gruden over racist emails

Madden NFL is known for removing players from their teams who are caught in bad behavior. The game maintains an official roster for ranked competition, and it reflects who is active and who isn’t in the real world. EA Sports appears to have removed its coach in a rare move.

Jon Gruden (ex-head coach for the Las Vegas Raiders), was disgraced and resigned Monday following a long history of racist, homophobic and sexist emails. The emails were part of a league investigation into the Washington Football Team’s own toxic workplace; some were included in court filings in an unrelated lawsuit.

On Wednesday, the official Madden NFL Twitter account announced that the game’s developers will replace Gruden with a generic coach. In real life, the Raiders’ interim head coach is Rich Bisaccia, previously the club’s special teams coordinator. Head coaches — like players — license, and are compensated for the use of, their images and likenesses in Madden NFL. (A notable exception is New England’s Bill Belichick, who doesn’t want to be in the game.)

As assistant coaches and coordinators are currently listed in names only, Bisaccia will be the Raiders’ coach until the end of the season. EA Sports will need to create a character model to get his consent.

Gruden’s removal probably won’t affect career modes already in progress, or those that are started at a point where he was on the roster. We’ve reached out to EA Sports for more clarity on this. Madden NFL Franchise players can choose to control the team or start their own. You can play as a coach for a single player or become an owner.

Madden has previously removed athletes who were suspended due to alleged criminal behavior or other serious misconduct. However, they were still part of the career save files that had been created before the player’s suspension was overturned. In 2014, when Ray Rice, then a Baltimore Ravens running back, was suspended indefinitely after an incident in which he was seen on security video punching his then-fiancée in the head, EA Sports removed him from the Madden NFL Ultimate Team library of players, too.

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