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.

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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.

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