Overwatch League expansion team Atlanta Reign has unveiled its season two roster. Eight players have been signed to the team, including controversial Overwatch streamer Daniel “dafran” Francesca.
Joining dafran in the DPS role are Jeong “Erster” Joon and Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov. Park “Pokpo” Hyun-jun, Seo “DACO” Dong-hyeong, and Blake “Gator” Scott have been signed as tank players. Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger and Petja “Masaa” Kantanen will play support for the Atlanta team. The team is a mixture of players from around the Overwatch Contenders scene, but dafran—a professional player best known for his Twitch stream—is likely the most well-known, albeit controversial, player.
Dafran previously played for Selfless Gaming alongside Atlanta head coach and former Selfless owner Brad Rajani. He was banned from Overwatch Contenders season one and disqualified from all Blizzard-sanctioned events for an entire competitive season after throwing Overwatch games on stream while playing a lewd dating sim, Nekopara, over his matches. On top of Blizzard’s suspension, Dafran was also suspended from Selfless’ active Overwatch roster.
“While dafran will no longer be playing with our team, we will be assisting him in finding the help, counseling, and guidance that he needs to improve his mental and emotional well-being,” Rajani said in a statement in June 2017. “He is a dear friend, and we will be as supportive as possible during this time off from competitive play, so that he can come back stronger and better than ever.”
Dafran teased a return to competitive Overwatch on his stream, but many in the community speculated that he wouldn’t be approved to join the Overwatch League. Dafran was most recently suspended from Overwatch last week after being accused of “disruptive behavior” while playing Torbjörn.
But despite his controversial past, Dafran has been signed to an Overwatch League team. Blizzard has proven itself strict regarding player behavior, issuing a range of fines and suspensions throughout the league’s first season. Most notably, former Dallas Fuel tank player Félix “xQc” Lengyel was suspended and fined multiple times for inappropriate behavior while streaming Overwatch. He was later released from Dallas Fuel.
Dafran was streaming on Twitch when the announcement went live. Atlanta Reign CEO Paul Hamilton made a $5,000 donation with a link to the announcement video. “We’re in the league boys,” dafran confirmed on stream, while the community watching mourned the potential removal of dafran’s signature “Pepe” memes. (Blizzard actively began discouraging use of the meme in March.)