Today marks the beginning of League of Legends’ 2017 Mid-Season Invitational. However, what should have been a celebration of the game and the various nations taking part, problems were stirred once more by a pro player. In a since-deleted tweet, one of RED Candid’s (MSI host Brazil’s most recent champions) substitutes, Felipe “YoDa” Noronha target the Japanese representatives and used a racial slur.
Riot Games took immediate action and banned YoDa for 3 games and a $2,000 fine. This is not the first time that Riot has taken disciplinary action during international events. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen drew negative attention during Worlds 2015 when he made a new account with a racist username during his team’s stay in Korea. This resulted in a 3 day game ban and a $2,000 fine along with costing his team (then SK Gaming) from making it our of the group stage of Worlds. Just last year, Hankil “Road” Yoon was banned for 1 game during Worlds and a $2,000 fine when he was reported heavily for toxicity in his home server of Korea.
While YoDa did issue an apology (which has also been deleted for some reason), time will have to tell if he’s sincere. While players like Svenskeren have done a complete 180, shedding his old toxic image, it is sometimes hard to remember that these professionals are sometimes very young kids. However, Riot has made it very clear that age is not an excuse, and that they will not tolerate any discrimination or denigration, whether it was meant to be a “joke” or not.
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