EA Sports has delayed the NHL 21 closed beta and postponed the announcement of more news about the game in a show of solidarity for athletes’ strikes regarding racial injustice.
Writing on Twitter, EA announced that it has postponed the start of the closed beta, which was scheduled to begin on August 28. The company also said it won’t be releasing new details on the World of Chel mode for NHL 21 today as it had planned to.
“Out of respect for much more important conversations around social injustice, today is not the day. We stand with the African American / Black community in solidarity against racism,” EA said.
EA’s announcement came after the NHL announced that all of Thursday’s Stanley Cup playoffs games were postponed in solidarity with the protests regarding the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Hockey has historically had a diversity problem. In June, more racist player and team names began to appear in NHL 20 following the murder of George Floyd. In response, EA announced that it would implement harsher penalties for offensive content and strengthen its profanity filters and its online moderation. To that end, EA rolled out a new way to report offensive player and team names.
NHL 21, meanwhile, will have a new in-game reporting system where players can notify EA about offensive behavior. EA said it will investigate these reports, and it may choose to ban players not only from NHL 21, but also from all of EA’s titles.
Outside of ice hockey, a series of eSports teams postponed their matches in a show of solidarity. The developers of the NBA 2K series released a statement saying they support the NBA and WNBA in their decision to demonstrate following the shooting.
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