Playing the Field: Mike Tyson, Aaron Hernandez, Chris Benoit video game taboo

Everyone thinks of Mike Tyson now as this huggable, tattooed, gap-toothed cartoon character. And if you saw his interview with HBO’s Real Sports a couple of months ago, you certainly buy that Iron Mike has changed as a person.

But there was a time in this country’s history when the name ‘Mike Tyson’ was nearly as notorious as the name ‘O.J. Simpson.’ Say, 1995 or so. It was so bad that the video game “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out,” by all accounts one of the greatest old school Nintendo games of all-time, became extremely taboo. This happened, of course, because Tyson was incarcerated from April 1992 to March 1995 after being found guilty for raping beauty queen Desiree Washington.

Now, it seems obvious that Aaron Hernandez would be removed from Madden 2014 given the mountain of evidence presented against him. But with the video game’s release date scheduled for Aug. 30 and considering Hernandez hasn’t yet been convicted of a thing, EA Sports is setting somewhat of a new video game measure here.

The closest thing: In the summer of 2007 THQ was putting the wraps on its WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2008 video game but had to remove all likeness to wrestler Chris Benoit just days before the game was released after it was learned that Benoit murdered his wife and son before committing suicide.

Everything considered here with the Hernandez case, this was EA Sports’ only move. Can you imagine if this guy was in the dreaded ‘Free Agent’ pool? Even worse, he would have easily had the best overall rating of the sad-sack group. He was an 86 overall last year according to FBGamers.com with his best attribute being his (gulp) “toughness,” a 95 rating.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS


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