EA Sports delays Madden 21 celebration — expected to include Lamar Jackson — to focus on societal changes

EA Sports is delaying its Madden NFL 21 announcement indefinitely amid the country-wide unrest after George Floyd died while in police custody.

The popular sport game released a statement Sunday saying it would no longer be “celebrating Madden NFL 21 with you” on Monday. It titled the graphic “It’s game time,” the famous intro to its products, with “game” struck out.

The statement:

“Tomorrow, we had committed to celebrating Madden NFL 21 with you, but we’re not going to do that now.

“We stand with our African American/Black community of friends, players, colleagues and partners. Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change against the unjust treatment and systemic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world.

“We’ll find another time to talk football with you. Because this is bigger than a game, bigger than sports, and needs all of us to stand together and commit to change.”

It was a big week for EA sports, which saw its exclusive publishing agreement with the NFL extended through at least 2025. The company has had the rights since 2005, and unique players have grown by 30 percent year-over-year.

The “celebration” was expected to the announcement of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson as the cover athlete. The MVP casually announced it would be him during a video interview last month. The game is typically released in August.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said he will be the cover athlete for Madden 21. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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