Two professional League of Legends players were banned from competitive play today due to “toxic behavior” including “offensive language” and “verbal abuse,” according to the esports coordinator for Riot Games.
Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez and Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm are suspended from League Championship Series and Challenger Series play for the remainder of 2014.
The League competition ruling showed that Rodriguez’s harassment score—a mechanism that measures complaints against a player—was in the top 1 percent of all players in the EUW region, and that he was reported in over 30 percent of his games played. Holm posted similar statistics.
Rodriguez and Holm were integral parts of Challenger Series team Ninjas in Pyjamas for the past nine months. Following their ban, the two long-time members were dropped from the team, ending an era for NiP that included disappointing failures in the last two League Championship Series promotion tournaments.
Despite those two failures, NiP had high hopes for this challenger season after picking up legendary mid laner Alex “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin from Gambit Gaming and the young jungle prodigy Tri Tin “k0u” Lam.
“I did know the risk of playing with [Holm] and [Rodriguez],” Ichetovkin said. “And having them banned now, yes it’s sad, but I guess we will be fine. They are really nice guys in real life and really dedicated.”
Holm and Rodriguez were each fined $500 by Riot Games in March for using “offensive, racist language” after screenshots of chats in a game lobby were leaked online. At the time NiP believed they were “posted with malicious intent.” In his statement, Ichetovkin suggested this controversy put the two under greater scrutiny and led to their ban
So their subsequent punishment by Riot Games is hardly a surprise to the team, or Ichetovkin. But it’s an unfortunate result for them.
“I guess I agree on bans but the timing isn’t really the best one for the team,” Ichetovkin continued. NiP has a mere 10 days to scramble to put together a lineup before their next important Challenger Series match.
“I won’t give up,” says Ichetovkin. “There are worse things happening in life. Sad morning.”
NiP managing director Gustav M. Karto shared similar sentiments. “This is a highly regrettable situation that the players can only blame themselves for,” he said in a statement.
“Ninjas in Pyjamas do not condone this kind of behaviour and we hope that the players take the time to learn from this incident and come back to competitive play in the future with a refreshed attitude.”
Some pro League of Legends players have returned from suspension. Christian “IWillDominate” Rivera, Curse Gaming’s jungler, served a year suspension for toxic behavior only to return with a much improved attitude. Rivera is now a staple on his team and on the Riot Games analyst desk when they need a pro player perspective.
Photo via Riot Games