Riot Games Unbans Tyler1, A Player It Once Called A 'Genuine Jerk'

Illustration for article titled Riot Games Unbans Tyler1, A Player It Once Called A 'Genuine Jerk'

Riot Games confirmed to Compete that it has lifted the indefinite ban on Twitch League of Legends streamer Tyler1.

Advertisement

Initial news of the ban came from Tyler1's Twitter account, where he said that, “AFTER 613 DAYS OF INTENSE REHAB I AM FINALLY UNBANNED FROM LEAGUE OF LEGENDS.”

Tyler1—a talented player who specializes in playing as the spinning-axe wielding Draven—was banned from League of Legends indefinitely in 2016. Action was taken due to a “well-documented history” of verbal abuse, intentional feeding (dying to the enemy team on purpose), as well as account sharing and purchasing, evasion of sportsmanship systems, and player harassment. In a 2016 statement from Riot Games, systems designer Socrates said any account used by him will be banned immediately upon identification.

“We know we’re not perfect, and this dragged on too long,” wrote Socrates. “But we want you to know when the rare player comes along who’s a genuine jerk, we’ve still got your back.”

Over time, Tyler’s narrative became one of reformation: Can a toxic player truly turn himself around? In the meantime he kept streaming, playing games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. In 2016, League of Legends commentator David “Phreak” Turley said that Tyler1's ban could be reviewed. “If he actually reforms, we might unban him,” said Turley.

In October 2017, a Riot employee slid into a public Discord channel and called Tyler a “homunculus.” Angry about how much “bullshit” Tyler has caused for them, the employee wrote “he’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.. then we’ll be gucci.” The employee was later fired after Riot issued an apology.

Meanwhile, Tyler received an email that he showed to his stream, saying that he will be unbanned if accounts he has played on in the last month are “clean,” or not ban-worthy. Riot Games also released a statement classifying Tyler’s ban as an “identity-level ban,” as it’s a ban on a person rather than a specific account.

Advertisement

Tyler revealed the news today via Twitter, before announcing his plan to start streaming League of Legends again starting Monday. While Riot did not release an official statement on the matter, Riot Games flack Ryan Ringey left a coy Reddit post.

“As we’ve said before, we don’t comment on the ban status of ID [identity] banned players,” wrote Ringey. “On a totally unrelated note, my desk at work is looking clean af right now.” Attached was a picture of Ringey’s desk, with a mousepad from Tyler1's website that says “Tyler1 REFORMED.”

Advertisement

This post initially stated that Tyler1 was banned in 2015. He was banned in 2016.

Freelance writer, Dota enthusiast, Texan.

DISCUSSION

I do not know the gentleman described in this article, and so I will not comment upon him directly.

What I will say is that there’s a definite line between standard “shit talk” in an online game and being an absolute piece of human garbage—for me, anyway.

That line tends to exist between saying, “O, you got REKT, son,” which is obnoxious, but not necessarily toxic in my view, and resorting to racist, homophobic, or transphobic taunts.

That’s the kind of shit that made my generation wish for a fist-through-the-phone-line feature on early public access internet connections in the 90s, and I don’t find that it’s changed much over the last twenty years.

If this dude was as much of a douche as he’s been described here (and no one ever said he was a racist or anything else, just that he was a towering dickbag in other ways), he deserved his ban—but he also deserves the chance to get his shit together and learn to play (relatively) nice with others.

Also, don’t blame Riot one little bit for firing the employee who fantasized about the death of this dude. I don’t doubt for one second that there are more than a few Kotaku readers out there who dislike me—some of them intensely—and there are a few I don’t care for either.

Wishing death on someone/fantasizing about it, however, is a whole order of magnitude removed from just having qualms with someone else online.