12.05.12

Have eSports found their Dennis Rodman?

We've written recently about the rise of spectator eSports, and they're more popular than ever, but most people would be hard pressed to name an eSports star. The lack of powerful personalities in compeitive online games may be about to change. 

Riot Games yesterday decided to ban a professional player, IWillDominate (real name Christian Rivera), from League of Legends. A moderator body called "The Tribunal" examined the facts and came to a ruling:

Facts:
Recently, IWillDominate was brought before the Tribunal for consideration of a permanent ban. The majority of players voted to punish and today the Riot player behavior team has approved the ban after review of the case.

IWillDominate has been in Tribunal nine times and punished eight times, including the most recent permanent ban. He has a persistent record of in-game harassment, verbal abuse, offensive language and negative attitude. 

Despite the punishments and official warnings, his harassment score has risen more than 30% from early August to the present date, placing him at the top of the list of North American pro players and among the worst 0.7% of all North American players.

Analysis:

IWillDominate has consistently engaged in behavior which violates the letter and spirit of the Summoner’s Code. 

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. 

Ruling:
IWillDominate has violated the letter and spirit of the Summoner’s Code in a systematic fashion.

Penalties:
IWillDominate is ineligible to play in the League of Legends Championship Series for a period of one year. This suspension shall commence immediately. 

Rivera is well-known for his demonstrative behavior during competitions, including a John McEnroe-like headset smash "at 2012 MLG Pro Circuit/Spring after beating CLG.NA to advance to the winners bracket finals." Riot has taken pains to curb toxic behavior in their game, the most popular in the world, by creating an egghead-heavy player behavior team to study and minimize behavior like Rivera's.

The 22-year-old Rivera plays for a team called Dignitas, the captain of which, William Li, expressed his displeasure on Twitter:

If eSports are really sports, I think they should stop punishing, um, athletes who get riled up in the midst of a competition. What would the NBA be without Rasheed Wallace? What would the NFL be without James Harrison? You heard it here first: FREE I WILLDOMINATE!