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The Overwatch League has only been up and running for a couple of weeks and already it has seen its first player suspended for misconduct. Dallas Fuel's xQc has been officially benched for making homophobic remarks during a post-match livestream.
Up to this point, The Overwatch League has had a pretty fantastic start. The competitions have gone smoothly, the broadcasts have been lively and there have been plenty of big moments making tuning in well worth the effort. Competing at this stage means you're subject to higher standards, though. Higher standards Felix Lengyel (xQc) of the Dallas Fuel has failed to live up to.
According to a report from Polygon, Lengyel's punishment was swift and appropriately severe, considering his actions. And speaking of those actions, it all boils down to some things Lengyel said following a match in which his team was bested by the Houston Outlaws, 4-0.
At the conclusion of the match, Outlaws player Austin Wilmot (Muma) talked a little trash by parodying one of Lengyel's catchphrases. Lengyel reportedly took extra offense to this because he was not actually playing during the match in which the Outlaws swept the Fuel.
In response, Lengyel presented one of his community streams in which he verbally insulted Wilmot, an openly gay player, with homophobic remarks saying he should perform a sexual act and that he "would like it."
About a day passed before The Overwatch League issued a condemnation of Lengyel's actions, as well as a $2,000 fine and four-game suspension. The Fuel was even more severe, saying that Lengyel's suspension would extend all the way through the first stage of the competition, which runs through Feb. 10. Missing out on the remainder of Stage One, he will be able to return for the final three stages of this first season, assuming he's learned his lesson.
The statement from Overwatch League boils down to the fact that the league takes the behavior of its professional players seriously, whether they are in the middle of competition or not. Lengyel's comments were made on his own time, during his own livestream, but he's still representing the league, his team, and a game owned by Activision Blizzard, who probably don't want to be known for supporting homophobic players. There's also the fact that Lengyel is an adult who chose to behave like the stereotypical homophobic, foul-mouthed juvenile the games industry, in general, could do without.
As for their own take on the matter, the Dallas Fuel took to Twitter with an official statement offering full support of the decision made by Overwatch League on the matter.
During his suspension, we will be offering additional resources, focus coaching, physical training and support to Felix to help him improve as a professional player who is reflective of the principles of the Dallas Fuel organization, his teammates and the Overwatch Leage.
The statement concludes with faith that Lengyel will return to the league a better competitor, and hopefully a better person, following the suspension.