Adam Johnson video game character deleted by publishers

8 Mar 2016

Adam Johnson (on right, wearing brown) playing football in 2012

In reaction to former Sunderland AFC footballer Adam Johnson being found guilty of sexual activity with a minor, gaming publishers having taken steps to remove his character and likeness from famous titles.

Adam Johnson made headlines both on the front and back pages of newspapers lately after the 28-year-old footballer was found guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child.

As well as losing his job, and facing jail time when he is sentenced later this month, some of the largest video game publishers around have also taken the decision to erase any trace of the footballing characters created in Johnson’s image to dissociate him from their titles.

According to Digital Spy, one of the first to make a statement on the character deletion was the Japanese game publisher behind Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), Konami, which issued a statement saying: “[Johnson] will be removed in the March update. In online modes, he will be removed next week.”

Likewise, Sega, the publishers behind the most popular football manager simulator – Football Manager – confirmed it has already removed Johnson’s character from the game.

‘We’re working to remove him from other modes’

Of the major trinity of football video games, EA’s FIFA 16 was the only one remaining that had yet to make a decision on whether to go into the backend code and remove him from the game.

EA had originally released a statement saying it was to issue an update to remove Johnson from the game, however, “due to technical issues it is not possible to delete him from everyone’s version”.

The publisher has since issued another statement to Eurogamer to say his character has, in fact, been removed.

“Adam Johnson has been removed from the Active Rosters of both Sunderland and England in FIFA 16,” the statement read. “We’re working to remove him from other modes within the game as soon as possible.”

Former footballer Adam Johnson image via Jaggat Rashidi/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic