A bit of competitive fire and trash talk is accepted and even welcome in eSports, but there's a point where it threatens the growth of the business. Electronic Arts reinforced as much last week when it fined the winner of its Madden Bowl tournament $3,000 for crossing the line.
"We have high expectations for all our competitors in Madden competitive gaming and expect positive, responsible conduct to be demonstrated both on-and-off the field," the company said in a public statement. "We would like to address an expectation of ours that was not met by our newest champion, Chris 'Dubby' McFarland."
"During and directly after the competition, Chris posted multiple messages on a personal social media account that referenced inappropriate content. These posts violated our Code of Conduct and don't represent the values of our organization. We immediately met with Chris to warn him that his posts were inappropriate and could not continue. Unfortunately, additional offensive messages were posted in subsequent days - Chris has since removed them."
By winning the tournament, McFarland claimed the $75,000 grand prize. EA said that the $3,000 he was fined will now be spent on programs "to help our players prepare for the exposure that comes with being a top-level gaming competitor."
In a statement to Polygon, McFarland accepted the consequences of his actions and pledged to represent himself and the game in a better light.
"Honestly the fine just shows how much this game is growing. It's not just for the small group of pro Madden players, it's for the entire country. We as players need to understand that we not only represent ourselves but the growth of the game. [...] EA holding us more responsible for our actions is a reflection on how big they want Madden to grow, at the end of the day that's what we all want."
While the EA statement only mentioned McFarland's recent actions, the Madden Bowl champion also came under criticism earlier this month after Pastapadre reported on a series of years-old tweets he made using racial slurs.