Checkpoint: Dallas Fuel Release Félix “xQc” Lengyel
Overwatch League team Dallas Fuel announced today that the organization and tank player Félix “xQc” Lengyel have mutually agreed to part ways.
Lengyel has been in the spotlight for a while, both for his strong Winston play and behavioral issues. He was suspended in January for saying a rival Overwatch League player would enjoy sucking a “fat cock,” and again last Friday for several statements about fellow players and Overwatch League talent. Lengyel had also been ominously dropping hints that he might choose to quit the league.
“Our focus is to field a roster with players that are available to help the Dallas Fuel succeed now and in the future,” said Rufail. “Releasing Félix today allows us the flexibility to make additional signings during the league transfer window and allows Félix to pursue other opportunities this season and on stream.”
While the wording used by Dallas Fuel owner Mike Rufail seems to imply that the split with xQc was a business deal done in order to mutually benefit both parties, many, including myself, are seeing this as the Fuel attempting to distance itself from Felix after repeated offenses. Since its inception, the fledgling Overwatch League has already been rocked by several scandals revolving around the conduct of its players. The team at the center of the controversy, the Dallas Fuel, has already had to discipline two of its players for their behavior, the aforementioned “xQc” and another of its tank players Timo “Taimou” Kettunen. Taimou was fined $1,000 for using a homophobic slur while on his personal stream. The issue for some is that this incident happened over a month ago and only now after weeks of pressure has the League decided to take any meaningful action. The League's sluggish and at times ineffectual efforts to curb misconduct on the part of its players has unfortunately been a defining aspect of its short tenure.
If the Overwatch League, and frankly E-sports as a whole, wish to gain something approaching the legitimacy of other professional sporting associations they must make it clear that players are expected to maintain a level of professionalism and sportsmanship. The belief that their behavior can be excused by the fact that these players are mostly teens and twenty somethings simply acting their age is simply untrue. Many athletes, both college and professional, fall into this same age group and are expected to maintain a level of decorum both on and off the field. Though, to be fair, this is also a criteria that professional sports frequently fail to live up to as well, with measures frequently being too lenient and thus doing little to dissuade repeat offenders. In the case of xQc, his most recent penalty has come barely a month after his previous suspension expired.
As of a few days ago it seems that the League is finally taking such matters to heart and began issuing disciplinary actions to several players, including xQc and Taimou. My hope is that xQc’s departure from the Dallas Fuel will serve as a warning to any potential offenders that as a professional E-sports player you are expected to represent the industry and gamers in general in a respectable manner.