Artist blasts video game for editing song to remove Kaepernick reference

Rapper Big Sean blasted the creators of the popular "Madden" video game franchise on Thursday for removing a reference to unsigned NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick from one of the musician's verses on the game's soundtrack.

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Big Sean, whose real name is Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, called video game manufacturer EA's decision to remove part of his verse from the song "Big Bank" performed with fellow rapper YG "disappointing and appalling" in a statement.

"It’s disappointing and appalling @NFL & @EA took @Kaepernick7’s name out of my verse on Big Bank for Madden 19, like it was a curse word. When he's not a curse, he's a gift! Nobody from my team approved any of this," Big Sean tweeted.

"Much love brother! Thank you for having my back!" Kaepernick responded on his own account.

In a statement, EA apologized for the controversy, which it said was caused by employees who removed the reference from the song thinking they were complying with EA's lack of rights to use Kaepernick's likeness in the game.

The "Madden" franchise features lifelike avatars of popular NFL players in its games, with agreements with the NFL Players Association to feature the players.

"We meant no disrespect and we apologize to Colin, to YG and Big Sean, to the NFL, to all of their fans and our players for this mistake," the company said in a statement.

Kaepernick was cut from the San Francisco 49ers and has yet to be signed by a new team after being the first NFL player to take a knee in protest during a performance of the national anthem before an NFL game.

Since his departure from active football play, dozens of other players have joined the protests against police brutality and racism in solidarity with Kaepernick.