Several female soccer players from the National Women’s Soccer League took issue with their likenesses in popular soccer video game FIFA 23, with the players’ union quickly following suit with a statement asking for “immediate action” regarding “players of color.”
“We insist on immediate action from EA to rectify the offensive and inauthentic portrayals of players of color in FIFA 23, which were released yesterday,” Meghann Burke, executive director of the NWSLPA, the players’ union, told CNN in a statement.
Sydney Leroux, who plays for Los Angeles-based team Angel City FC, posted a photo of her character in the game with the caption “I know you expect women to just be thankful and grateful that you’ve given us a little sliver of publicity but please stop wasting our time. Some of us are bald.”
Several fans of the game quickly mentioned that the issue has affected other characters, including male players, and has already been addressed.
“This has been glitching all year… [developers] put out a patch in November,” said one reader.
“This usually means they are in the progress of updating the players face. The week before they’ll go into a generic looking bald dude for some reason,” another gamer replied.
“The bald players glitch is an issue that happens to any gender,” another added, showing a news clipping of the same glitch happening to a male player.
Leroux then pointed to a photo of herself in the 2016 version of the game, saying, “They had the headband, the braid, the neck tattoo, the overly plucked brows and someone even made me CHESTYYYY!!!! Deflate my boobs a bit and put a different jersey on. I’ll keep the brows at this point.”
However, a fan had already pointed out four hours earlier how the character looks in the current game.
Portland Thorns player and Olympic gold medalist Janine Beckie poked fun at her likeness, saying “Found my long lost twin! Fraternal obviously.”
Sarah Gorden, who also plays for Angel City FC, commented on her player’s skill ratings in the game, saying developers have never watched a game:
“When [EA Sports] didn’t put me in the top 10 for speed I was mad but I was like eh we will show them. But when they gave me a 48 rating in speed I realized they have never and will never actually watch a nwsl game.”
While it is quite typical over the approximately 30 years of these video games to have players react to their in-game ratings and jokingly taking issue with how they look or perform in the game, the likeness of players has been debated heavily regarding legalities.
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