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NFL, EA Sports agree to six year extension of Madden video game franchise

NFL, EA Sports agree to six year extension of Madden video game franchise

The Madden franchise will continue to be a part of the gaming universe for at least the next six years.

NFL owners on Thursday approved an extension of their deal with Electronic Arts, continuing a relationship that has existed for 30 years. It was also recently approved by the NFL Players Association.

The current contract was set to expire after the 2021 season. The extension means that EA Sports will continue to be the league's exclusive publisher of football simulation games through 2026.

EA Sports Executive Vice President Cam Weber said both sides had been talking for months. Many wondered what the future of the relationship might be after 2K Sports signed an agreement with the NFL in March to produce non-simulation games.

The current edition of Madden has seen a 30% increase in unique players. According to Electronic Arts, more than 330 million hours of the game have been played since it was released last August. The company has also seen large increases in gameplay during the past couple of months as people have been confined to their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic, with many tournaments taking place among friends and on television.

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Rachel Hoagland, the league's vice president and head of gaming and esports, said keeping the Madden franchise at the core of their video gaming strategy was important, especially with the emergence of new platforms and gaming systems. Sony and Microsoft have announced new generations of gaming consoles that are expected to debut by the end of the year.

"EA has done a nice job of ensuring the game matches the experience during a game week. The new technology will allow richer content and add more realism," she said.

Madden NFL 21 will come out in early August with the first looks at the game coming next week. 

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was last year's cover athlete. Baltimore quarterback and reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson said in April that he would be on the cover this year, but EA Sports has not made an announcement.

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Patriots' Julian Edelman invites DeSean Jackson to Holocaust Museum in D.C.

Patriots' Julian Edelman invites DeSean Jackson to Holocaust Museum in D.C.

DeSean Jackson's Instagram posts containing anti-Semitic quotes falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler has put the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver at the center of racial controversy. 

Jackson has since apologized for his actions and the Eagles released a statement condemning what their player did. Meanwhile, former NBA star Stephen Jackson has defended the wide receiver, saying Philadelphia "threatened to fire" DeSean over the incident and described his posts as "speaking the truth."

Another well-known athlete has now offered his thoughts on the situation in New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman is Jewish, and while he acknowledged Jackson saying "ugly things," he wants to use this as an opportunity to educate.

In a video Edelman posted, he invited Jackson to tour the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., and in return, he would accompany Jackson to D.C.'s Museum of African-American History and Culture.

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“I think the black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities,” Edelman said. “One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful.

“We need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act,” he said. “We need to have those uncomfortable conversations, if we’re gonna have real change. So to that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal. How ’bout we go to D.C. and I take you to the Holocaust Museum, and then you take me to the Museum of African-American History and Culture. Afterward, we grab some burgers, and we have those uncomfortable conversations.”

RELATED: REDSKINS MINORITY OWNERS REPORTEDLY COULDN'T GET SNYDER TO SELL

Edelman shared his own experience of anti-Semitism as well, but also made note of the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

"I remember experiencing a little bit of this hate in 2011 when I was called a [expletive] on the football field," he said. "There's no room for anti-Semitism in this world. Even though we're talking about anti-Semitism, I don't want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is, how we need to stay behind it."

Since the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began operations in 1993, the museum has seen over 40 million visitors from over 211 countries. The Museum of African-American History and Culture opened in 2016 and has since seen over two million visitors and has more than 40,000 objects in its collection. 

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Redskins Talk and Friends: How to watch

Redskins Talk and Friends: How to watch

Amid internal pressure from investors, last week the Washington Redskins announced they will conduct a 'thorough review' of their team name. 

On Thursday, the trio from the Redskins Talk podcast - JP Finlay, Mitch Tischler and Pete Hailey - will be joined by former Washington Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot at 5 p.m. on Thursday to talk about everything going on around the team's name.

Want to ask the group a question? Leave it in the event discussion on Facebook.

When: Thursday, July 9
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Where: NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page (click here)

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Listen to the full episode of Sports Uncovered's Sean Taylor: The NFL Superstar We Didn't Get to Know, click here.