Electronic Arts has announced that it has pulled Aaron Hernandez from its "NCAA Football 14" and "Madden NFL 25" football video games in response to reports that an image of the ex-NFL star, who is accused of first-degree murder, had appeared as an unlockable item.
A screen shot from NCAA 14 showing the Hernandez image made the rounds Monday:
— Brandon (@TeamSpeedKills) July 8, 2013
"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," an EA Sports representative told CBS Sports. "[Hernandez] is not in the game."
Looks like fans aren't the only ones eager to trade in their Hernandez swag for a replacement. According to EA Sports, the image will be phased out in a future update and replaced by one of Cincinnati Bengals tight end Alex Smith.
Judging by Smith's lackluster stats, unlocking the player is on par with "winning" a "participation" ribbon at field day. But hey, it's not like anyone expected Hernandez to self-destruct.
EA probably deserves a high five for responding appropriately to this minor flap. Given its track record dealing with consumer complaints and flawed products, perhaps the group ought to be lauded for providing a fix -- even if it's kind of unexciting.