Daniel “Dafran” Francesca said that he’s still a part of Overwatch League team Atlanta Reign on Thursday after initially posting a contradictory tweet.
The controversial Overwatch streamer was announced as part of the Atlanta-based roster on Oct. 28. He was signed to the team for 10 days before he posted on Twitter that he was leaving the team. “The end. I hate the game,” Dafran wrote. “Thought I could love it again and have passion but it’s impossible. I always end up soft throwing. Contract ended. Overwatch uninstalled. McDonald’s here I come.” But today, Dafran said his contact still stands, and that he’s not departing the team.
“Still in ATL Reign, didn’t quit like I said,” Dafran wrote today. “I messed up, don’t know what to say except sorry to the community, my fans and ATL. It wasn’t jebait, sometimes I have these days and make dumb mistakes. Going forward I’m going to stream less and focus on making myself and my team better.”
In his initial tweet, the player admitted to throwing games, which has earned him suspensions before. Neither Atlanta nor the Overwatch League have responded to Dot Esports’ request for comment.
Shortly before his initial tweet about quitting, Dafran uninstalled Overwatch on stream. He reportedly also added his signature Pepe emotes back to his Twitch page. (The symbol has been banned by the Overwatch League for its connection to hate groups. The Overwatch League actively discourages players from using the meme.)
Before joining Atlanta, Dafran streamed Overwatch full-time. The DPS player played for Selfless Gaming alongside Atlanta head coach and former Selfless owner Brad Rajani. Dafran was suspended from Selfless after being banned from Overwatch Contenders season one and disqualified from all Blizzard-sanctioned events for an entire competitive season for throwing Overwatch games on stream. He also played lewd dating simulator Nekopara over his Overwatch matches. Rajani said after his suspension that Selfless would provide Dafran with “help, counseling, and guidance that he needs to improve his mental and emotional well-being.”
Dafran was most recently suspended shortly before joining Atlanta after being accused of “disruptive behavior” while playing Torbjörn.
Dafran hasn’t necessarily done anything against the Overwatch League’s rules since he joined the league, though it has only been 11 days. Blizzard has been serious in season one about shutting down bad behavior. Multiple players were banned and fined in season one, including former Dallas Fuel player Félix “xQc” Lengyel, who was later released from the team due to his unpredictable behavior. Many fans are concerned that Dafran could follow a similar fate due to his behavior on Twitch.
Some are pointing to the pressure of professional play as a cause for Dafran’s displeasure with Overwatch and the competitive scene. “Being a pro player is a lot more complicated and stressful than ‘just playing video games,’” Overwatch caster Andrew Rush wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon following Dafran’s initial tweet. “Likewise with just about every aspect of esports (talent, production, management) there’s a lot that goes under the surface that people don’t realize. Not everyone can handle it.”
The problem is often linked to the speed at which Overwatch players rose to prominence. Many competing in the Overwatch League haven’t before experienced the level of prominence the league offered them. Previously, it was just playing video games for many of the Overwatch League’s players. Now, it’s much, much more. And it seeps into the league beyond toxic behavior. Players are also struggling with the league’s demands, resulting in burnout, depression, and illness. Multiple players and staff members contended with all three issues in the Overwatch League’s first season—and it very well could be a problem in season two, too, despite scheduling changes.
Dafran and the Atlanta Reign will make their OWL debut when season two begins on Feb. 14 at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles in Burbank, California.