Video game publisher EA Sports will remove a touchdown celebration from "Madden NFL 23" that showed players giving each other CPR in the wake of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest in Week 17. The celebration existed in the game already, but EA Sports said it will release a software update soon to eliminate it from the most recent version of the popular video game.
"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 CBS Sports.
CPR was administered to Hamlin when he collapsed on the field during the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. Hamlin was transported from the field by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he stayed until he was released a week later. He returned to Buffalo and continued to undergo testing at Buffalo General Medical Center until he was discharged Wednesday morning.
Following Hamlin's hospitalization, some fans on Twitter called for EA to remove the celebration. NFL players will likely stop using the celebration on the field as well, although Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith and defensive end DeMarvin Leal celebrated a sack of Cleveland Browns quarterback with a CPR celebration in Week 18. Highsmith later claimed his celebration was not related to Hamlin.
Hamlin's recovery is remarkable but shed light on a more pressing issue in the NFL revolving around player safety and compensation. The Bills agreed to pay Hamlin's full contract amount after placing him on injured reserve despite a clause in his deal that would have cut his wages if he landed on the injury list. It was a move heralded and vilified considering the countless other players who also suffered devastating, but not life-threatening, injuries that cost them games, years and possibly careers.
For now, though, "Madden" users won't be reminded of one of the scariest on-field moments in NFL history when they play the game.