America's biggest team sport meets the biggest esport in the world.
In a match that had to happen sooner or later, the NFL and Fortnite have teamed up It's not a full-fledged seasonal theme, but starts on November 9th at 19:00. ET players can buy NFL-themed outfits (ie team uniforms) in the in-game store.
All 32 NFL teams are represented, along with a 33rd place Fortnite-specific look. Players can also choose which number is displayed on their jersey, from 0 to 99.
The above video suggests that more NFL-themed cosmetics will come Fortnite too, but Epic's news announcement mentions only the jerseys.
I'm sure that fans of both sports will announce this as cool news, but this partnership bothers me deeply.
On one side is there Fortnite, an admittedly great game in which (valid) accusations have been made to commit to cultural appropriation without granting credit where it is due. Many of the dances of the game have their origins in music and especially in rap.
This is a lengthy conversation with Fortniteand Chance, the rapper, articulated the subject clearly in a July tweet that led to even more conversations. Epic decided not to comment at the time, and I do not think it has been officially addressed since then.
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make as much money as emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances, but did not monetize them. Imagine, the money people spend on these emotes is shared with the artists who made them
– Chance of the rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
Then we have the NFL, a professional sports league that has been actively working (and in many cases still does) to keep players from exercising their right to protest. Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kicked off as he tried to kneel before the match during the national anthem to draw attention to the police brutality stemming from racial inequality in America.
Kaepernick has since been blacklisted from the league – at least informally – but many other players have picked it up in his absence. Meanwhile, the league has tried to end these protests. Some teams (look at Dallas Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones) have made it clear that protesting players are being cut off.
With Fortnite and the NFL is essentially about racism. Donald Trump's arbitrary misunderstanding of the protest has infected the discourse and led racists to back up the idea that player protests concern the disrespect of the flag. The address of Epic, in which the funds for the use of funds are not specified, is a deletion. By not accepting the criticism, the company claims some kind of property of something others have created.
I have no doubt about it Fortnite x NFL will pay off for both partners. But it feels so shabby. Both have either ignored their legitimate concerns or actively opposed them, and now they are teaming to milk their combined fandom.
I like Fortnite and I like NFL football. It is difficult to remain a fan when the business interests of these monolithic institutions are not thoughtful and socially conscious.
These are of course shops, and it's always about the money. I think I would like to believe that we live in a world, or can Live in a world where there is a price to pay when trying to keep the racists happy.