Professional gamers acting up is nothing new, in fact, given so many of them are at such a young age it’s even to be expected. In your late teens and early twenties this new-found fame starts having a bigger impact on your life, and it’s understandable if some of it goes to your head. What matters most is managing those responsibilities, and sometimes changing yourself at a core level to perpetuate your success and to thrive in your new environment.
What comes to mind most recently is something that happened involving a European League of Legends team that was bootcamping in Taiwan in preparation for the World Championships. A player was suspended for his first 3 Worlds matches for using an offensive screen name and denigration on the Taiwanese League of Legends server. On top of not being able to participate in what could be his only shots at a World Championship, he was also fined $2,500 USD for these transgressions.
What’s most interesting is that he likely would have gotten an even steeper punishment, had this not been during the run-up to Worlds. Some are concerned that given the degree of this players comments, in terms of game suspension, his punishment is considered “light”. When the tournament itself inspires global togetherness and competition through League of Legends, you would think that given how public his remarks have been made, he’d have at least been asked to be dropped from the roster.
Even so, Riot Games understands that his hard work all season is what has allowed his team to make it into Worlds, and denying them a relatively fair chance would also be frowned upon by the majority of the community. But this kind of situation isn’t nearly as uncommon as some people might think. The overall maturity of your average professional gamer is pretty much what you might expect from someone that’s around their age. Most of the time their relative fame only inflates the youthful ignorance and sometimes arrogance that you can expect from a teenager.
It’s not a bad thing to have an ego when you’re a member of one of the most exclusive groups in the esports world, in fact I’d hope that would be a source of confidence given the industry can be very taxing at times. Knowing just how you conduct yourself while in the spotlight should always be in the back of your mind, and such overt misbehavior as the example mentioned above is not tolerated. This isn’t even anything that’s new, famous athletes should know by now that getting away with any kind of discriminatory gesture is really difficult, and if caught can have massive repercussions.
Think before you speak, for a professional in the League community to engage in such tasteless acts makes us all look bad.