Valorant (opens in new tab) pro Jay 'Sinatraa' Won, who earlier this year was accused of sexual assault by an ex-girlfriend, has been suspended from competitive play for six months. The suspension is not a response to the alleged assault itself, however, but for failing to fully cooperate with Riot's investigation into the matter, which violates the requirements of Valorant's Global Competition Policy.
Riot launched its investigation in March after detailed allegations of physical assault and emotional abuse were shared by Cleo Hernandez, who had been in a relationship with Won for nine months. The next day, Won denied "assaulting her in any way," and said that the relationship "was unhealthy for us both." He also pledged to fully cooperate with the investigation, and said specifically that he would turn over audio and video clips (recorded consensually) of the two having sex that Hernandez had referenced in her allegations.
In today's competitive ruling announcement, however, Riot said that Won has thus far failed to do so, which is part of why the six-month suspension was imposed.
"While the investigation did not come to a definitive conclusion on the underlying allegations, the Competitive Operations team had serious concerns with Sinatraa’s conduct during the course of the investigation," Riot said. "It was determined that on at least two occasions Sinatraa misrepresented certain facts, made false statements, and did not cooperate with the investigation in a way expected of a professional Valorant esports player.
"Of note, Sinatraa’s public commitment on social media to provide the full audio and video clip referenced in the original post was never fulfilled. Cooperation in these investigations is of the utmost importance, especially when the nature of the allegations is as serious as sexual assault. This behavior will not be tolerated by Valorant Esports."
The specific regulation in question, "8.1 – Investigations by the Tournament Operator," states the following:
"The Tournament Operator will have the right to monitor compliance with this Global Policy and the applicable Event-Specific Rules and investigate possible breaches. By agreeing to this Global Policy, each Team Member agrees to cooperate with the Tournament Operator in any internal or external investigation that the Tournament Operator conducts relating to a suspected violation of this Global Policy, the applicable Event-Specific Rules or applicable law. Team Members have a duty to tell the truth in connection with any investigation conducted by or for the Tournament Operator and have a further duty not to obstruct any such investigation, mislead investigators or withhold evidence."
As for the allegations themselves, Riot has no conclusion for now. The company said that it's "an incredibly complicated allegation to investigate and definitively adjudicate," but noted that police are now investigating. Should "additional material information" come to light as a result of that investigation (or anything else), Riot says it "reserves the right to reopen the investigation and take further appropriate action."
Following the suspension announcement, Won issued a statement (opens in new tab) saying that he never actually had the audio and video clips he promised to turn over to investigators, because Hernandez asked him to delete them after they broke up.
"As we were drafting up an update with the legal PR team we had added that I would provide the video because we genuinely thought that the video would have to be shared in full since it’s a key part in the investigation," he said. "However that did not happen and I should not have promised something I could not personally deliver."
It's not clear which "legal PR team" Won is referring to, or why he committed to sharing the recordings if he didn't have them in the first place.
Won was initially handed an "administrative suspension" by Riot at the start of its investigation on March 10. Following this decision, he'll be eligible to return to competitive Valorant play on September 10 unless there are new developments, although he's required to complete "professional conduct training" first. I've reached out to his team, the Los Angeles Sentinels, for more information and will update if I receive a reply.