The Overwatch League positions itself as the league that can bring e-sports into the mainstream, and the young league took a step forward toward that validation as it handed down its first suspension on Friday.
Dallas Fuel Tank Félix “xQc” Lengyel has been suspended for the remainder of the first stage of the OWL season. Lengyel will be eligible to return for the winless Fuel on Feb. 10. The suspension was in response to comments made by Lengyel during a livestream following a loss to the Houston Outlaws on Thursday afternoon. Outlaws Tank Austin ”Muma” Wilmot used the catchphrase “rolled and smoked,” made famous by Lengyel, following a 4-0 defeat of the Fuel.
During his stream, Lengyel compared the act to a traditional athlete taunting a player with a broken arm, a reference to him not playing in the match against Houston. “You didn’t smoke shit,” Lengyel exclaimed, adding, “Shut your fucking mouth. Go back there. Suck a fat cock. I mean, you would like it.”
Wilmot is openly gay and responded on his own stream, calling Lengyel a “homophobic piece of garbage.” Lengyel apologized the next day, with Wilmot accepting and offering his own apology. Later Friday, the Fuel announced that Lengyel would not compete in that night’s match, promising further details. The OWL stepped in and issued their own four-game suspension and a $2,000 fine for Lengyel, with the Fuel later confirming that he would be held out of competition until Feb. 10.
Lengyel is no stranger to controversy. His account was suspended by Blizzard in Dec. 2017 when he began throwing Overwatch matches out of anger. Days before Lengyel’s suspension, Dallas Fuel owner Mike Rufail said in an interview with Compete that he wanted to play up his players’ personalities and avoid forcing them to “put up a front.” While reiterating that his team has a code of conduct, he acknowledged that he knows players might slip up, saying, “Does it mean that they players will always adhere to the code of conduct? No. Players are gonna have issues and problems. But that’s why an organization is there to correct mistakes and advise players on how to be better.”
According to the team, the advisement for Lengyel will involve “additional resources, focus coaching, physical training and support” as Rufail and the Fuel look to correct the course of its most brash player. The hope has to be that Lengyel will be able to handle the pressure that comes with such a large stage when he returns to competition during stage two of the OWL season.