Aaron Hernandez’s likeness was removed from Electronic Arts Inc.’s “Madden NFL 25” video game after the former New England Patriots tight end was charged with murdering a friend last month in Massachusetts.
The latest edition of EA Sports’ best-selling National Football League game is scheduled to be released on Aug. 27, allowing for Hernandez’s profile to be deleted before any copies are sold. EA, the second-largest video-game publisher, has sold more than 85 million copies of the Madden games since starting in 1989, with revenue of more than $4 billion.
Hernandez’s image in EA’s “NCAA Football 14” game will be removed through an online update, the company said in a statement.
The Hernandez character appears as a reward card in the skills trainer mode, which allows gamers to add former college football players to their rosters by completing challenges. Unlocking the Hernandez reward will now produce the player item for Alex Smith, a former University of Utah quarterback who’s now with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, EA said.
It said the image of Hernandez was included in a version of the game finished before the company made its decision and will be removed in a title update “in the near future.”
Hernandez, 23, is held without bail after being charged with murder for what prosecutors said was orchestrating the execution of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Boston. Hernandez, who agreed on a five-year, $41 million contract extension in August 2012, was released by the Patriots after his arrest and is scheduled to appear again in court July 24. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.