Following this weekend's tragic shooting at the Jacksonville, Fla., Madden Classic, developer/publisher EA has announced that remaining events in the tournament have been canceled. In EA's statement, it was explained that the primary cause for these cancellations was to conduct an audit of safety procedures and consistency across all future events.
On Sunday, Aug. 26, competitive Madden player David Katz (24) committed an act of violence against the community he was a part of. According to reports, Katz brought a single handgun into the GLHF Game Bar, host site of the Madden Classic. Katz reportedly opened fire at the event, injuring 10 and killing two; Elijah Clayton and Taylor Robertson. Robertson actually won the Madden NFL 17 Classic, with Clayton being a rising star on the scene.
While we're still waiting for a full account of the event, game developer/publisher Electronic Arts has released a statement concerning the attack and future plans for the Madden Classic. The statement was offered by CEO Andrew Wilson. Wilson noted that this was the first violent attack the company has been involved with and, per his recollection, a first for the games community in general.
For those planning to attend the three upcoming Madden Classic events, those tournaments have officially been cancelled. Wilson noted that qualifying events are operated independently by partners, with EA working to "ensure competitive integrity" at the tournaments.
In the meantime, EA plans to conduct a review of safety protocols for these types of competitions in order to better protect competitors and spectators. They then plan to work with their partners, as well as EA teams involved with the events, to make sure procedures are thorough and consistent.
As for the victims of the attack, Wilson said that the entire community is trying to figure out how to cope with such a "horrific and senseless act of violence."
First and foremost, it is an unthinkable tragedy that Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, two of our top Madden competitors, lost their lives in this way. They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community.
Wilson went on to state EA's commitment to all of those directly affected by the shooting in Jacksonville and stronger safety procedures at future events.
Expect additional safety procedures to become the norm across the board. More strict safety procedures were on display at E3 this year, for instance, including bag checks before entering the event, more security on the premises and even trained K-9 units. From my local perspective, the same was true of the annual Phoenix Comic Fest this past summer. Authorities apprehended a potential gunman at the event in 2017 despite heightened security measures, leading to more strict entrance security, additional on-site security and programming that eliminated or moved much of the events typically hosted outside or at a neighboring site.