Overwatch professional player Felix Lengyel of the Dallas Fuel, better known as xQc, has been suspended from the Overwatch League after launching a homophobic slur against one of his opponents.
The incident and subsequent suspension brings the Overwatch League crashing back down to Earth, showing that there is more room to grow not just for its players but also for the whole Overwatch community.
Dallas Fuel's xQc Suspended
The Dallas Fuel were decimated by the Houston Outlaws with a 0-4 sweep in their recent match, capped with Outlaws player Austin "Muma" Wilmot using Lengyel's trademark "rolled and smoked" line during the Overwatch League stream.
Lengyel did not take kindly to Wilmot's remark, responding in a personal stream with a homophobic slur aimed at the Outlaws player. Making matters worse is that Wilmot is openly gay.
The anti-gay insult prompted a four-match suspension and a $2,000 fine from the Overwatch League, as Fengyel was deemed to have violated the Code of Conduct. The Dallas Fuel followed the league's verdict with a suspension of its own that takes Fengyel out of action for the rest of Stage 1, which will run until Feb. 10.
Lengyel has since apologized to Wilmot, who accepted the gesture. However, this is not the first time that the Dallas Fuel player was involved in such an issue, as he was suspended in the middle of a match back in November for abusing the Overwatch reporting system by filling reports with curse words.
The 'Overwatch' Toxic Problem
Lengyel's outburst and subsequent suspensions brings the spotlight back on the toxicity of Overwatch.
Wilmot was offended, but he did not seem surprised that Lengyel launched a homophobic slur against him. This is likely because both Lengyel and Wilmot started their professional Overwatch careers in random matches on Blizzard's servers, where insults and other damaging forms of verbal abuse are being hurled left and right.
In September last year, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan acknowledged that the toxicity problem of the multiplayer shooter is becoming such a big problem. Blizzard is being forced to allocate resources to address the issue, delaying updates as the manpower may have instead been used for that.
The toxicity of Overwatch is the bad side of what is an otherwise excellent and successful multiplayer game, and it was on full display with Lengyel's antics. Hopefully, his suspension will lead to better behavior for Overwatch League players, an improvement that must then be emulated by the rest of the Overwatch community.