New 'Madden': Deal done in ink

Updated: June 5, 2014, 3:44 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Aiming to get one step closer to real life, Electronic Arts will feature Colin Kaepernick's tattoos in the upcoming version of its "Madden" video game.

The tattoos were shown for the first time Wednesday night, when the company released a screenshot of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback in the game.

Colin Kaepernick
EA SportsThe real Colin Kaepernick or the video game version? With Kaepernick's tattoos now featured in "Madden 15," it's harder to tell. (This one: video game version.)

Last year, Kaepernick told broadcaster Jim Rome that he hoped to get the tattoos in this year's version. That was complicated by the fact that the NFL Players Association and EA required the tattoo artists that designed tattoos for players to sign waivers giving the NFLPA and the video game company rights to reproduce the tattoos.

The issue was pushed to the forefront when S. Victor Whitmill, the man who designed Mike Tyson's face tattoo, sued Warner Brothers for its use of his tattoo in the movie "Hangover 2." The two sides eventually settled, leaving no legal precedent as to who owns the tattoo -- the artist or the person whose body it is on.

In Kaepernick's case, it helped that his tattoos were done by two artists, Nes Andrion of Endless Ink in Reno, Nevada, and Orly Locquiao of Humble Beginnings in San Jose, California. Kaepernick got the necessary permission from the artists and filed it with the NFLPA, who brought it to EA.

"We want to be as authentic as possible, so we were pleased that Colin was able to secure the rights to the tattoos," said Seann Graddy, senior producer of "Madden 15," which will hit the shelves on Aug. 26. "There's a ton of buzz around this. In this game, we only have Colin's tattoos, but we'd love to secure the rights to the tattoos of other players in the future."

Many of Kaepernick's tattoos are verses from the Book of Psalms.

EA has asked fans to vote for the cover athlete for "Madden 15." Kaepernick was defeated in the semifinals by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who is facing off against Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The winner will be revealed on "SportsCenter" at 6 p.m. ET on Friday.

Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension on Wednesday that sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter is worth more than $110 million.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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