(*Adam's note: please welcome guest writer, and law student, Elijah Png to the website! There's no way a single person could keep up with all the legal goings-on. His Twitter can be found right here.*)
The Boston Uprising has terminated the contract of their DPS player Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez after allegations of sexual misconduct were made by an under-aged fan identifying herself as “Lily” backed up with evidence such as screenshots and call logs. Following an indefinite suspension from the Overwatch League (OWL) and the Boston Uprising, Overwatch League Front Office released a statement that Sanchez’s contract has been terminated.
The Overwatch League’s Official Rules, Terms and Conditions Inaugural Season Version 1.0 clearly outlines the regulations surrounding Sanchez’s alleged behaviour whilst interacting with one of his fans. Section 6.1(a) outlines that:
All Team Members and Owners must at all times observe the highest standards of personal integrity and good sportsmanship and act in a manner consistent with the best interests of the League, in each case as determined by the League Office. Team Members are required to behave in a professional and sportsmanlike manner in their interactions with other competitors, League officials, and members of the League Office, the media, sponsors and fans.
The League Office determined that Mr Sanchez was in clear violation of this section particularly the regulations surrounding fan interactions as the behaviour he displayed did not observe the highest standards of personal integrity. The standard of review in this scenario has been set very low, leaving little margins for error for those governed by this ruleset as the determinant in this scenario is merely any behaviour or practices that could cause “bad press” for the league. Evidence has suggested that he knew the fan in question was under-aged as it was alleged that the fan notified Mr Sanchez of their age early in their interactions. Despite this, Mr Sanchez allegedly continued with his advances leading up to his suspension. Furthermore, section 6.3(b) outlines that:
A Player, Team Manager or Owner may not engage in any activity or practice which (i) brings him or her into public disrepute, scandal or ridicule, or shocks or offends a portion or group of the public, or derogates from his or her public image
Mr Sanchez’s actions clearly constituted an act that would reflect badly on the league as his behaviour in the interaction in question was likely to bring him into public disrepute and it is a reasonable assumption that he aware of the media consequences if his actions were put into public knowledge.
As per section 9.1 of this document, the League Office has the final and binding authority to make judgments as they see fit. As such, the alleged two violations that Mr Sanchez has allegedly committed were punished accordingly.
After analysing of the rules and regulations that govern the players in the Overwatch League, The OWL Office found that Mr Sanchez’s alleged actions warranted the harsh punishment enforced by the League Office. However as per section 9.1 of the document, the League Office ultimately has full authority to determine the violations and punishment which could lead to possibly inconsistent and unwarranted judgments in future disputes. On the other hand, a possible solution to this could be a system of binding precedent like our legal system in which past judgements will determine the extent of punishments with new section of the ruleset detailing types of offences and their consequences. Perhaps a requirement of written findings of fact to support serious punishments such as this case could be a deterrent for unwarranted judgments.
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