Last week, during the first quarter of an NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle. Hamlin required CPR while on the field and was taken away via ambulance. Now reportedly in the aftermath of that scary incident, EA Sports is removing a celebration animation from Madden NFL 23 in which players mimic giving each other CPR.
Injuries happen in the NFL all the time. But during last week’s Monday Night Football game between the Bills and Bengals, Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and needed oxygen and CPR on the field. After Hamlin was taken away by paramedics to be put on a breathing tube, players remaining on the field looked shaken up by the terrifying incident and the game was eventually postponed. Hamlin thankfully survived and is no longer in critical condition thanks in large part to the CPR he received on the field.
As reported by TMZ Sports and CBS, EA Sports is planning to remove the CPR touchdown animation from Madden NFL 23 soon following the incident with Hamlin. While EA didn’t say specifically when or why it was removing the animation, one can assume that the company has deemed it would be in poor taste to leave it in the game following such a horrific on-field injury that required actual medical personnel to use CPR to literally keep someone alive.
“EA Sports is taking steps to remove the celebration from Madden NFL 23 via an update in the coming days,” an EA Sports spokesperson told Kotaku.
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The CPR celebration has been around for a long time, both in the Madden games and in the real world, usually used on players following a big play or touchdown. In fact, a few days after Hamlin was rushed off the field due to cardiac arrest, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith participated in a CPR celebration after sacking Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson in a game on January 8. The following day, Highsmith apologized about the celebration after fans called it “trashy” and “classless.”
“I just don’t want people to think of me that way and think I was doing anything [intentional],” Highsmith told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Because I would never, ever, ever, ever want to do that intentionally, and I never ever would do that.”