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‘Madden NFL 23’ to drop CPR celebration after Damar Hamlin cardiac arrest

Madden 23 (EA Sports/Washington Post illustration; EA Sports)
2 min

Electronic Arts will remove a touchdown celebration mimicking CPR from its game “Madden NFL 23,” following Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2.

“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 numerous outlets.

In the game, players can perform actions such as dancing, spiking the ball and taunting. Some of these moves can be risky, though. Showboating while dashing into the other team’s end zone leaves the runner vulnerable to a sack.

Hamlin collapsed after being hit in the chest while playing against the Cincinnati Bengals. Medics performed CPR on the field before Hamlin was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared to be in critical condition. He was met with an outpouring of support from fellow athletes and politicians, including Ohio governor Mike DeWine.

“Fran and I offer our prayers for Damar Hamlin,” wrote DeWine on Twitter. “We join everyone in Cincinnati and across this country in praying for this young athlete.”

Hamlin’s condition improved enough to be transferred from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center this week and admitted into Buffalo General Medical Center. On Jan. 11, the Buffalo Bills announced that Hamlin has been discharged and sent home.

Touchdown celebrations have been a long-running but contentious tradition in the NFL. They can range from simple cheers and high fives to choreographed group dance routines. While these celebrations are widely enjoyed by fans, the league has frowned upon what it terms as “excessive celebration,” which are celebrations deemed unsportsmanlike and rude.

Acting out CPR has been a common touchdown celebration in the NFL for years, with players feigning heart-stopping excitement. On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers were criticized for mimicking CPR during a celebration in a game against the Cleveland Browns. Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith said the celebration was not intended to be a reference to Hamlin.