The Overwatch League has taken disciplinary action against three of its players and one head coach for violating elements of the league's Code of Conduct according to a news post on the league's official website. Timo “Taimou” Kettunen of the Dallas Fuel & Ted “Silkthread” Wang of the Los Angeles Valiant have been fined, Félix “xQc” Lengyel of the Dallas Fuel has been fined & suspended for four games, and Houston Outlaws Head Coach Tae-yeong “TaiRong” Kim has received a formal warning.
Taimou of the Dallas Fuel has been fined $1,000 for using "anti-gay slurs" on his personal stream. He issued an apology via Twitlonger:
I am sorry to the fans and supporters I let down and offended recently. I listen and read all the comments and I am utmost disappointed in myself that I said those things and all I can do is apologize and move forward. My goal has always been to be the best Overwatch player I can to help my team, and I will only get better as a player and a public figure. Thank you to the fans, you all truly make us better.He had called a player a "fucking faggot kid" on a stream back in January. The issue was brought to light by ESPN in a recent piece. The piece was written over a month after the incident had occurred, and this led some people at /r/Overwatch to speculate that it was retaliation for the Owner & CEO of the Dallas Fuel publicly chastising an ESPN journalist for tweeting that the team had signed a new player while failing to exercise "journalistic integrity or proper diligence".
xQc (also of the Dallas Fuel) has been fined $4,000 and suspended for four games for "using an emote in a racially disparaging manner" in the chat of a league stream & on social media and for using disparaging language against Overwatch League casters and fellow players on social media and his personal stream. He was previously fined & suspended for using homophobic language in a personal stream.
The particular emote in question was the "Trihard" emote which was used alongside the number 7. According to an explanation from xQc in a Twitch video, he uses the emote as a way to say hello; he had been doing so for several months on the league's Twitch chat. The incident in question that likely caused problems was a convergence of the emote being used at the same time Malik Forté was on screen, giving the appearance of the emote being used in a racially-disparaging manner:
Mr. Forté tweeted that he spoke with xQc via Twitter DMs and did not believe that he used the emote with ill intent.
Silkthread of the Los Angeles Valiant was fined $1,000 for account-sharing, a violation of the league's Code of Conduct and the game's Terms of Service.
Finally, Houston Outlaws Head Coach TaiRong was given a formal warning for posting an offensive meme on social media. The tweet has since been deleted, but screenshots of it still in exist in several places such as this tweet:
He subsequently issued a formal apology via Twitlonger:
After the week 5 match I recklessly posted a bomb meme without realizing the sensitive implications and meanings it had. I only realized it after hearing the explanation from many people. For not knowing about its seriousness, I am feeling sincerely guilty towards the people affected by my post, and all the Overwatch League fans who love the eSports scene.Additionally, he stated that he will take the time to consider his actions in the future and is donating $1,000 of his own money to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation to show that he sincerely regrets his actions. His actions here were before any punishment was applied, and the Overwatch League considered them in their judgment to give a warning.
I wish to make myself clear that I am not a person who has feelings of racism or xenophobia. Overwatch League is the the top league in the world harboring the best players from around the world who showcase the most amazing actions, and I am sincerely proud to be a part of it.
Therefore I couldn’t bear skipping the terrible mistake that was caused by my lack of knowledge. Because I know that by ignoring it I would no longer deserve to face my players and other teammates.
We've reached out to the parties who received disciplinary action and will update this article if we receive any responses.
What do you think of the disciplinary action undertaken by the Overwatch League? Do you think the response was reasonable? Let us know in the comments below!