Riot Reinforce “Zero Tolerance” Stance Towards Racism By Banning Brazilian Pro At MSI

Riot Games have announced a three-game ban for Brazilian CBLOL Champion Felipe “YoDa” Noronha, a mid substitute for the RED Canids. In a post that has now been deleted from Twitter, YoDA used racially derogatory language, subsequently receiving a $2000 fine and will miss the first three games at the Mid-Season Invitational where his RED Canids could be considered one of the favorites to advance out of the play-in tournament. This is not the first instance of Riot punishing players for racism, but the quick response and willingness to punish players at MSI shows how seriously Riot takes the issue.

On the day before the start of the play-in tournament at the Mid-Season Invitational, RED Canids’ substitute mid laner tweeted out a racially charged and derogatory tweet aimed at the Japanese players attending MSI. While he quickly deleted the post, this was not the first instance of YoDa targeting other players after he had promoted the idea of trolling the Korean players in Solo Queue when they arrived in Brazil to practice ahead of the tournament.

Source: Lolesports

This instance was in some ways unique to any previous rulings regarding racism in the professional League of Legends scene, as it was created on social media, rather than taking place within the client or in game. In many ways, this could be seen as a more serious violation, as social media sites such as Twitter extend far beyond just the sphere of League of Legends.

This is not the first instance of a player being punished for racism before an international tournament, with the most famous example likely being Team SoloMid’s starting jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen’s punishment before the Season 4 World Championship in 2014 when he was a member of Europe’s SK Gaming.  While playing on the TW server in preparation for Worlds, Svenskeren changed his summoner name to an obvious racist username that angered Taiwanese fans to the point where it was even picked up by some members of the Taiwanese media.

Source: lolesports

Prior to this incident, Svenskeren also had a significant history of toxicity, but the inclusion of racism forced Riot’s hand. Riot Games would go on to punish Svenskeren by banning him for the first three games of the World Championship, where SK Gaming would subsequently go 0-3 and fail to advance out of the group stage.

The issue of racism within League of Legends has not been limited to just the players, with Riot forced to act on cases of racism uttered by casters as well. At the most recent All-Stars event in Barcelona, two LAS casters made blatantly racist comments regarding Korean All-Star Bae “Bengi” Seong-ung after a 1v1 match.  Once again, Riot acted swiftly, releasing a statement regarding their zero tolerance of racism and removing the two casters from the remainder of the broadcast.

Source: Twitchtv

It took less than a day for Riot to issue a ruling regarding YoDa, and their response is more than justified by his actions. By continuing a policy of zero tolerance, that transcends past League of Legends to major professional sports, Riot is enforcing the precedent that no individual will escape punishment when it comes to acts of racism.

As a game that has quickly expanded to capture a global player base and audience, Riot has fostered diversity for their game and continues to promote an environment celebrating diversity and tolerance at their events. As their reach continues to spread, it is clear that Riot will stand behind their policy of zero tolerance moving forward.

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