League of Legends pro-player banned for "persistent toxic behaviour"
As an outsider to the MOBA scene, I'd kind of assumed that harassment and verbal abuse were pretty much the entire point of the genre. Apparently not, as Riot's esports team have made the decision to permanently ban IWillDominate, a pro-gamer signed to Team Dignitas.
The League of Legends Tribunal shared their decision on the game's forums. They point out that, while they do not tolerate any unsportsmanlike behaviour, IWillDominate - real name, Christian Rivera - was particularly notable because of how "severe and consistent" his behaviour was.
In the ruling, the Tribunal outlined how Rivera had been brought before them a total nine times, and had been punished eight times as a result of those hearings. They said that, despite this, his harassment score had risen by 30% since August, "placing him at the top of the list of North American pro players and among the worst 0.7% of all North American players." That's the thing about pros - they're always trying to be number one at something.
Rivera was found guilty of consistent breaches of the Sumnmoner's Code, which establishes the standards of behaviour expected of all League of Legends players. "His persistent tendency to engage in verbal abuse and insults, his lack of cordial demeanor, and his treatment of less-skilled players is unacceptable for any player, especially a high-profile professional player who has a regular opportunity to lead the community by example."
As a result, the Tribunal has permanently banned all of his known accounts, and Rivera will be unable to play in the game's Championship Series for a year.
It's an interesting and extreme move, but one that's probably necessary for Riot. MOBA communities are infamous for being particularly shouty and vitriolic, and if Riot wants to add to their already massive playerbase, they may have to start combating that perception more aggressively.