EA Sports to finally crack down on racist names in NHL 20

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL 20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL 20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

EA Sports is officially going to deliver harsher punishments to racists in NHL 20.

NHL 20 — and the NHL games as a whole — has a racism problem, and EA Sports is finally set to address it. On Friday, EA Sports NHL posted a statement to Twitter denouncing the racism in their online mode, taking full responsibility for the state of online play while also outlining steps they plan to take to combat it.

“Chel shouldn’t be a place for any form of hatred, bigotry or racism. We have manually actioned on thousands of accounts to date, but it hasn’t been enough, and that’s on us.”

Since its release, NHL 20 has been a hotbed for blatant — and not so blatant — racism in the game’s online mode. Players are allowed to customize teams and players to play against one another online, and it’s not hard to find those that have racist team names or have references to racial slurs in their player names.

EA Sports has had a racism problem with NHL 20 since launch

On the NHL 20 Reddit, fans pleaded with the developers to remove these players and teams, and it seems they have listened. In EA Sports’ statement, the developers are now delivering more fierce punishments against “anyone with offensive content” while strengthening their profanity filters and bolstering resources internally to combat these issues.

Maybe the biggest announcement is that EA Sports is creating an in-game function for future titles to report racism or other misconduct directly. Previously, a player would have to go through Xbox or PlayStation’s report system, or report to EA Sports online, in order to do so.

The community manager for EA Sports NHL also spoke on Twitter about the situation, stating that it took them too long to get to this point.

Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May, hockey has been reckoning with the inherent racism of the sport across all levels. Though the league itself has spoken out against racism and discrimination, hockey has a long way to go if it wants to expunge the systemic racism that still permeates the sport.

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