League of Legends Pro Players Banned for "Toxic Behavior"

Riot Games continues to penalize even pro players for making the game a less pleasant experience for others.

League of Legends maker Riot Games hasn't shied away from banning even professional players from the game for poor behavior in the past, a trend it continued this week when it suspended two such players for the remainder of the year.

As it has in the past, Riot announced the moves on its forums (via Polygon), offering a detailed breakdown of what the offenders did, the specific rules they broke, and the penalties they'll now suffer. The two players are Alfonso "Mithy" Rodriguez and Erlend "Nukeduck" Holm. Both have been slapped with the same discipline: They'll each be suspended from the League Championship Series and the Challenger Series for the remainder of the year.

The two players' offenses were similar; both are said to have "exhibited extremely toxic behavior in solo queue" in recent months. This includes "in-game harassment, verbal abuse, and continual use of racial slurs" in Rodriguez's case, and "in-game harassment, verbal abuse, and general toxicity" in Holm's.

"I must agree I didn't have the best behaviour so the the ban is deserved." -- League of Legends player Alfonso "Mithy" Rodriguez

"In the past month, Rodriguez has been reported in over 30% of the games he played, with nearly 60% of those reports being for Offensive Language, Negative Attitude, and Verbal Abuse," Riot reports. "During this period, his harassment score rose to be within the top 1% of all players on EUW. Additionally, he was reported over 30 times for leaving the game/going AFK."

Rodriguez responded on Twitter, admitting, "I must agree I didn't have the best behaviour so the the ban is deserved." He said he intends to work as a coach in the meantime while working "on my behaviour" so that he can "try and come back to the scene." He also added, "Forgot to apologize to everyone I disappointed the fans and most importantly my teammates as well as [eSports group Ninjas in Pyjamas] who always treated us well. SORRY."

In the case of Holm, Riot claims, "In the past month, Holm has been reported in nearly 30% of the games he played, with over 65% of those reports being for Offensive Language, Negative Attitude, and Verbal Abuse. Despite previous punishments for his toxicity, Holm's behavior has shown no improvement over the past months, even after his account became Chat Restricted."

Holm, too, took to Twitter to comment on the ban. "I don't disagree with Riot at all but I wish I would get a proper warning. I didn't get a ban on my account in 14 months or any other warning." He added, "It's not too bad for me. I'll take it as a learning experience and try to come back stronger."

Riot has been penalizing players, both of the professional and casual variety, for years. This includes fines for cheating in tournaments and bans for using exploits, toxic behavior, and anti-semitism.

League of Legends' wild popularity continues to grow; back in January, Riot boasted that the game now sees an astonishing 27 million daily players. The game is popular among not just players, but also eSports viewers--it was the most-watched eSports game in 2013, and the Season 3 World Championships were watched by more than 32 million people.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

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Discussion

95 comments
ama8o8
ama8o8

I still dont know why people call gaming a sport ... idk it just doesnt sit well with me >_<

Arushni
Arushni

Love the double standard. They've banned plenty of "regular" players permanently for similar behavior (and without warning), and yet a lot of pro's (not all, but most) that have been punished for this type of thing still get the chance to return. Riot, and the Tribunal, are a joke, and their "customer support" is run by morons - latte-drinking, hipster nerds on a power trip, basically. Can't wait until Riot runs this ship into the ground with their BS.

CosmicD
CosmicD

I always thought that, whoever was acting like this could never be a pro. They were skilled pubstars at best. Now that safe haven of thought is gone too and shattered a bit. The knowledge that game skills are somehow prioritized over social skills really has troubled me in the past in other communities. Valve for example should take an example out of this. Their "player controlled blocking " approach prooves to not work simply because the system doesn't work at least in left 4 dead 2.

In left 4 dead 1 I'm managing a public banlist which has the most toxic players in it (aka griefers and teamkillers).

In dota however they do act on reported players. And as a visually impaired user I will fear the day where i'm getting banned in dota because a few overzealous people reported me in dota for buying the wrong item, and then valve taking no action what soever in l4d. That would be such an irony.

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

I don't know man, people get so verbally abusive while playing these games. They need to relax. Remember that human beings are on the other end. HUMAN BEINGS. 

LegendaryGammer
LegendaryGammer

Good ban them all and bring them to DOTA2, LOL doesn't deserve any good players... They are wasting their time on LOL. 

DVONvX
DVONvX

I've never been more bored with a game than I was with LoL. ................its so boring.

arqe
arqe

This game is a "CANCER" for gaming industry since its released first. I didnt played it , i didnt even entered their website. I dont care , but because they are earning so much money off these kinda people , ( kind that "accepts" everything happens to them ) gaming industry leans this way.

This game is the beggining for worse gaming industry for us all.

Jaxith
Jaxith

They deserve the punishment.  If anything, it's too lenient.  Seriously Holm, you think you deserve a warning?  What about all the people who's experience you ruined with your behavior?  You're lucky you got off as easy as you did.

...I really don't like players like that.  The reeking stench of entitlement is just nauseating.  There's no excuse for poor behavior; especially when you're a Pro and you should know better.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

Typical PC gamers at their "best". They're not happy until they think they made someone else unhappy. You see that here too. They have entitlement issues.

robertle519
robertle519

That is why the PC Master race is still in the lead (sarcasm)

deltron77
deltron77

holm needs a warning that hes being a racist d!ck? thats just pathetic.

pulsatingshadow
pulsatingshadow

The reason why players are so "toxic" in MOBA's are because the game within the game is so easily unbalanced. You play at a huge disadvantage if even one player is doing poorly, and it can lose you that 40 minute long game, which is a bit of an investment. You kinda have to have this happen to you to understand why people behave the way they do.

Flamewolf75
Flamewolf75

Both of them are bad anyways, nobody will miss them.

XIntoTheBlue
XIntoTheBlue

The behavior by a lot of these guys is sickening. At least Rodriguez apologized and took responsibility. Holm, on the other hand, should probably stay banned (well, from opening his fat mouth at least). The fact that he thinks he deserves a "warning" is unacceptable. Anyone who takes part in the community of LoL knows that action can be taken against them for being a toxic player. I don't think Holm can claim "I didn't know" regarding his behavior on this one.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

You could suspend 50% of LOL players for the same thing.

genjuroT
genjuroT

wowie. You know, when these games got popular, I looked deeply into it about a year ago before debating whether I should invest my time into one of them(because I knew they were time consuming). My conclusion back then is the same as it is now. The community and players are not good sportsmen. Can't speak for sportswomen, didn't see as much in that category. 

I also think that too many players in online games try too hard to become infamous. In other words, they're becoming popular by being an a-hole.

rob9999991
rob9999991

Good riddance! If a "gamer" is throwing out racial slurs to make himself feel good the gaming community as a whole will be better without him. Too bad entitled jerks like this are abundant.

StSk8ter29
StSk8ter29

I don't understand the fascination with League of Legends or Dota 2.

Boogy32
Boogy32

If these are "pro gamers", that would mean atleast, part of their livelihood depends on this game. It is sad to see, that these people have no inner warning bells, to deter them from screwing too much with the job that is supposed to put dinner on the table.
I really hope that I am wrong here, and they get no revenues from playing, because otherwise...


Who'd be so stupid...?

kargion
kargion

This makes me happy :)

blackothh
blackothh

I dont think they are banning enough people.


Its Ironic that when I tried the MOBA games years ago, I quickly left because of just that kind of behavior, and I used Toxic as my descriptor word when my friends asked me about what the game was like, I think I said something along the lines of the game being really cool, but the community being very toxic. 


Good to see that things have not changed and people are still jerks.

GrahamZ
GrahamZ

I remember reading some study (I wish I could remember where I read it) that claimed that people who act obnoxious online tend to do so in person as well.  That would be at odds with the old (but unproven) assertion that people only are obnoxious because they are anonymous or faceless.  I've been repeating the old 'anonymous' myth myself, and intend to stop (at least until there's some actual facts backing it up).  Just because something SOUNDS like it makes sense, doesn't actually mean that it's true.  One of the many problems with so-called common sense is that because it sounds so simple we forget to actually test it.


The next time that someone tells you that something is just common sense, you should realize that all that means is that he doesn't want to go to the effort to see if it's true.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

I've never understood why people adopt such toxic behavior when playing games online. I've seen it in a lot of games where people develop these nasty attitudes and treat others who don't play precisely the way they want them to like dirt. If the game frustrates you that much, or if playing with others online does, then why play at all? 

Games are meant to be fun and if you aren't having fun, what exactly are you playing for? Also, why play a multiplayer game if you can't handle other players with tact?

I understand that some people do this professionally, so it becomes more than just a game for them, but that's even more reason to behave in a professional manner so as to set a good example for other players aspiring to do the same. I'm glad these players were banned, but I'm also glad to see that one of them has acknowledged their poor behavior and has at the very least suggested that he'd try to amend it.

snxx
snxx

I always smile when I see players like that being punished. :)

demondogx
demondogx

Dont play the game, but whenever ppl get banned for toxicity is good news to me
Rarely any MP game has a decent enough community where ppl dont flame each other into the ground as soon as something goes wrong, wish more game companys would bann both casual and professional toxic gamers

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

people still play LoL nowadays? 

the title is ancient and outdated...

NoviL
NoviL

@ama8o8 Well hello my ignorant peasant. It's ok to be confused. Don't be ashamed of that. It's not your fault that you have limited acknowledgment of sociocultural concepts. It's community's fault that you have been left in the dark. I might guide you to the direction of good knowledge though.

Please start with making a research on the history of Olympic "Games", why it all started and also read the definition of "sport" from your preferred source of meanings of words (ie. a dictionary in your local library might do).

Cheers and have a wonderful harvest.

jemoedr
jemoedr

@eze_sl89 Dude, you're just ranting bullshit...


Paying doesn't always make a game better...

CosmicD
CosmicD

@Bread_or_Decide the whole internet needs to get this fact straight. Too little sanctions are being given, too many people considered in default because of their own behavior. Because it's "online" it seems to have to be tolerated.

jemoedr
jemoedr

@arqe If you haven't played it then you shouldn't judge it. Besides, the game (together with Starcraft II) is responsible for the rising popularity of E-sports. 


I'd rather say you're the cancer here...

alioli
alioli

@arqe This game is everything BUT a Cancer for gaming industry; It's making E-sports much more popular, and E-sports are incredibly important in multiplayer gaming as of now.

This game has been one of the greatest achievement in multiplayer gaming history; since it's made even non gamers appreciate what E-sport really is.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@genjuroT You think COD players are bad - LOL, HON, and Dota players are the worst scum of humanity, hands down.

gfrequency
gfrequency

@GrahamZ I was going to post links to a bunch of articles concerning the online disinhibition effect, as it's technically called, but it turns out they're all in scholarly journals or published as resources for students and researchers -- which means it costs like $50 to rent the article for a day. So that doesn't do much good.


Anyway, there is a lot of research to corroborate the theory, and the idea is a hell of a lot older than the internet -- read Plato's myth of the Ring of Gyges, or Orson Welles' The Invisible Man (which sort of deal with it from the opposite end of the problem, where you can't see yourself). The point isn't that you're anonymous, but the certainty that one will face no consequences for their actions as a result of being anonymous (or "invisible"). Hence why people will yell and scream and threaten you over the phone in a customer service job, but when they actually have to come in and talk to you face-to-face, they're meek as lambs. Speaking from personal experience.

miser_cz
miser_cz

@TenraiSenshi Play a round of LoL with players vastly below your skill ruining your game and I asure - you will understand very quickly.

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

@TenraiSenshi Its something that people tend to do when they are communicating with randoms folks online.It happens everywhere even in GS.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@snxx I smile even more when they try to make pathetic excuses, like "I wasn't warned first!"

GrahamZ
GrahamZ

@demondogx Why is it good that people are acting so obnoxious?  While it's good that the behavior is not being ignored, it gives the games involved and the players (even the innocent ones) a bad name.  Overall, this is NOT good news.  Do you know what WOULD be good news?  If no one was banned because everyone is treating each other with at least an ounce of respect.  No one being banned would actually be good news.

wexorian
wexorian

@quickshooterMk2 33 million montlhly user and 26-29 daily YEAH PPL STILL PLAY, you talk like it's old game.

Link3301
Link3301

It's from 2009 and it's literally the most played game in the world. It is by know means ancient.

jemoedr
jemoedr

@Thanatos2k @genjuroT Nah, i don't think they're that different. You hear people raging in nearly every game. I only didn't had this experience during C&C4 and SCII online actually.

MonkeyJab559
MonkeyJab559

@Thanatos2k @genjuroT There's good players out there. I love being a part of teams in random queues where we all support each other, even when a loss is almost unavoidable. Those are the teams that make the game fun to play, and it's winning with those teams that make the game rewarding. Rewarding sportsmanship is a thing that can happen in LoL. It's just a shame it can get buried under a ton of negativity.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

@gamefreak215jd @TenraiSenshi Yeah, I understand that, but I don't really understand the reasoning behind it. In particular, a game is meant to be a fun environment that serves as a form of escapism. I don't see why people would want to bring politics and negativity into it.

gta5onlinefunny
gta5onlinefunny

@hammoud @quickshooterMk2 Yeah i agreed.. The most played game in the world.. But i hate riot for one reason, since they didnt care about indian players. No LOL server in india... There are several indian players playing this game...

DKRises
DKRises

@gta5onlinefunny @hammoud @quickshooterMk2 Stupidest reasoning I've ever heard. Or perphaps the playerbase in those areas is so low there is no reason to waste money on a server there?


Even World of Warcraft doesn't have a server. They have NA servers and a few Oceanic (EU) servers. I guess that means they don't care about Indians either.


Xbox One only released to 9 countries, I guess Microsoft doesn't care about the rest of the world.


Think critically of your own replies before you make a stupid one.