Modding communities have become the backbone for many games, especially for fan-favorite older titles. Games like Skyrim or GTA V possess some of the largest modding communities to date. Many of which have helped those games remain popular and relevant years after release.
The same can be said for sports games. In recent years, modding projects like College Football Revamped and NFL 2K23 brought new life to older games with passionate fanbases. The amount of work and effort modders put in to make these wonderful creations is something to be applauded. However, as with game development in general, things aren’t always easy. This appeared to be the case following some heat between New Orleans Saints safety, CJ Gardner-Johnson, and the Madden 22 modding community after a set of Madden 22 mods stopped working.
Madden Modding Community Controversy
Latest Update Breaks Mods
Madden 22 received an update on July 21 crashing several popular community mods. The Discord server aptly labeled “Madden Modding Community”, announced knowledge of the issue stating saying some mods were crashing and would need to be fixed. The announcement asked the community to be patient and give the teams time to fix their mods, as they “have their own lives and will get to it when they can.”
Sources close to the incident noted several comments made by Discord user “CEEDY SHIESTY” confirmed to be CJ Gardner-Johnson.
Members of the Discord responded to this user insisting they calm down and be patient. One modding team member told CEEDY “bro I work a 9-5 and play college ball lol.”, to which the CEEDY user noted “bro im in the league and got 4 kid excuses.”
How Did We Get Here?
Not long after this, Gardner-Johnson was banned from the Madden Modding Community Discord server. Now, this comes after some apparent trolling from other members of the Discord server. CJ initially reached out to the modding team asking for assistance through the channel’s chats. Given the back and forth, it appears CEEDY’s insistence on getting help may have rubbed other users the wrong way sparking negative remarks towards Gardner-Johnson.
CEEDY would eventually attempt to leave the conversation, but others continued to make remarks. As seen in the images, user Feisscrew repeatedly commented with condescending remarks as CEEDY and user, Jacyn Norfleet Music, attempted to get help with the crashes as well as end things amicably between Gardner-Johnson and the modding team.
Shortly after this exchange, someone did reach out to CEEDY SHIESTY to assist as much as possible given the mod was still down. Things between them appeared to have ended on pretty neutral if not positive terms.
Legality and Discord Banning
It is not clear as to what exactly happened next over the course of the exchanges, but the end resulted in CEEDY SHIESTY being banned from the modding Discord server. This much is evident following an exchange that includes verified Twitter user “Ceedy Duce.”
After the ban, CJ messaged one of the modding team members on Twitter, threatening to tell EA about their mods. CJ told @SabosMods“I’ll be contacting EA.” In the DMs, Gardner-Johnson does in fact contact Madden NFL 23’s official Twitter accounts. CJ says “I have a couple people stealing EA images and benefitting off us. Might want to look at that.” Surprisingly, EA responded by saying “Hey, thanks for the heads up… which accounts are they?”
The problem here is the wording “stealing EA images and benefitting off us” which implies the modding team is making money in some capacity.
CJ sent this to @SabosMods with a direct threat. “Play wi me unban now or mod gone.” Threatening hard working community members is never a good look. Especially after going into their Discord server and upset them.
Gardner-Johnson took it one step further in his own Discord and told everyone “THE NCAA MOD IS ILLEGAL DON’T USE.”
If nothing else, this appears to be a heated exchange predicated on frustrations and the worst the internet has to offer. It is also unclear if the users who instigated interactions with Gardner-Johnson over Discord were also banned.
As for legal issues with modding, since modders typically do not and cannot make money off their work, legal action will likely not be taken. Additionally, most if not all game studios are largely aware of the modding community attached to their games. This goes double when money and licensing are of concern. Due to the very nature of modding, it is also unlikely there is any legal claim to compensation as Gardner-Johnson suggests. There is no rule preventing people who play Madden from creating college players in the game. It happens all the time with custom rosters and draft classes.
However, that does not mean there will be no repercussions at all. As seen with the update that started this, EA and developers can easily patch, correct, or change holes often exploited by mods. This makes them effectively obsolete. Such has been the case with the WWE 2K22 modding community who have all but abandoned modding the game altogether. We will have to see if this is just a hurdle for both sides or if it continues to escalate further.
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