Per normal procedure for licensed sports video games, the disgraced running back Ray Rice will be removed from Madden NFL 15's official online roster with its next update next week.
Rice, seen in a newly released security camera video knocking out his then-fiancée with a punch to the head in February, was released by the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, and then suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Either action would have removed him from the official roster, which Madden NFL 15 uses for all ranked online matches. Rice remains on the roster that shipped with the game at launch; EA Sports cannot remove him from any career mode, online or offline, that is already underway, as they use a separate roster created when the user begins their campaign.
Rice is a 77-rated running back in the game's Ultimate Team mode, in which users acquire "cards" of players to assemble the highest-rated team possible and then play it against others online. It remains to be seen what will happen to him there. Polygon has reached out to EA Sports representatives for clarification.
Removing players for injury or suspension is a common occurrence.
EA Sports will likely remove him from circulation, but he already is in players' card collections and performing on their teams. His card is listed in six auctions right now, with bids ranging from 250 to 2,600 "coins," the virtual currency (which cannot be redeemed for cash) used by the game.
In 2013, the New England tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and released by the Patriots. He later cleared waivers, meaning no other team took on his contract. These events took place in the offseason and Madden NFL 25 removed him from its roster with a day-one update when the game launched in late August.
However, Hernandez was offered as a player in the newly created NCAA Football 14 Ultimate Team, as a reward for completing a skills challenge. That card later was removed from circulation and replaced by another player's.
Rice was voted to the "cover" of the digital-only release NFL Blitz in 2012. It remains for sale under that image on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
Removing players from an official roster, either for injuries or suspensions occurring in the real world, is a common occurrence in all sports video games licensed by a professional league and its players association.
For example, Alex Rodriguez, suspended for the entire season by Major League Baseball for using performance enhancing drugs and obstructing a league investigation, does not appear in the official online roster for MLB 14 The Show. In the game's on-disc roster, he is placed in the New York Yankees' minor league system.