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Why this former EVO champion just got banned for life

Yet another competitive gamer has found themselves on the receiving end of heavy criticism after making some inappropriate jokes. In a recent post to Twitter, competitive gamer and former EVO champion Ryan "Filipino Champ/FChamp" Ramirez greatly offended not only fellow players, but several notable video game companies. In the last few days, he has been condemned by multiple sources for his actions and has already began to see the consequences for his ill-timed and poorly-conceived joke.

The offending tweet in question was a photo of a watermelon in his kitchen with the caption "Check this out lol #WatermelonLivesMatter," accompanied by a winking emoticon. This was seen to be in extremely poor taste for a number of reasons.

As pointed out by Kotaku's Ian Walker, "Watermelons have long been used as a racist trope against Black people, and coupled with a riff on the Black Lives Matter movement, it's clear what message Ramirez was meaning to send." It was seen by many as a slam or at the very least a diminishment of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The backlash was almost immediate, with several other gamers calling Ramirez out for his tweet. The tweet has since been deleted, replaced with an apology that read, "Very insensitive tweet by me ... I didnt mean any harm from it." Ramirez also promised to learn from the criticism and to be better in the future.

However, Ramirez was apparently back to name-calling within the same day, angrily replying to people who came down on him for his offensive tweet. It seems that people aren't convinced that Ramirez will learn from this.

Ramirez has also found himself banned from multiple events in the future. The most notable of these bans came from Capcom, which issued an indefinite global ban keeping Ramirez from participating in any Capcom-sponsored events, including the Capcom Pro Tour and Street Fighter League tournaments. This is huge, considering the fact that Ramirez has long been a big part of the Marvel Vs. Capcom competitive scene

Capcom has been known to take firm stances on players who violate the company's code of conduct. Back in April, Capcom announced that it was banning pro players LowTierGod and CeroBlast for similar insensitive remarks. LowTierGod had used homophobic and transphobic slurs during a livestream, while CeroBlast was called for using racial slurs in a similar setting.  All in all, it was an ugly mess and Capcom made the decision to distance itself from these players.

As mentioned previously, Capcom was not alone in its call to ban Ramirez. Another organization that shared Capcom's stance on Ramirez's actions was East Coast Throwdown. The official Twitter account for the fighting game tournament announced, "From this moment on @fchampryan is no longer welcome to East Coast Throwdown." Out of solidarity, it was announced that Ramirez was likewise banned from future Combo Breaker events.

This isn't the only high profile case in recent history involving an esports player making insensitive racial remarks. Just a few months ago, FaZe Dubs drew quite a bit of negative criticism he used a racial slur during a livestream. Though his partner that he was streaming with immediately told Dubs that they were live, the word was already out there. It is interesting to note that FaZe Dubs didn't receive any kind of ban for this behavior. However, he did receive scathing remarks from other people in the competitive gaming scene. 

One of these was Ninja, who said that the whole situation made him "uncomfortable." He also added how frustrated he was to note that Dubs seemingly said the word because he thought that he and his partner weren't live at the time. In other words, he would have been saying it if he didn't think he would be seen by viewers. Ninja has notably come under fire for the same kind of behavior, though he has cleaned up his act considerably in the time since then. 

Dubs issued an apology and FaZe Clan announced that he and the rest of the esports collective would be undergoing sensitivity training. It remains to be seen if Dubs has learned his lesson, but perhaps seeing another high profile gamer like Ryan Ramirez going down for this kind of behavior will serve as a wake up call for others. 

Tournament organizers and other companies within the industry are making their position known when it comes to not tolerating hate speech of any kind. Hopefully this will create a safer and more inclusive environment for gamers in the future, competitive or otherwise.