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Former Evo Champion Banned From Multiple Fighting Game Events After Racist Tweet

Illustration for article titled Former Evo Champion Banned From Multiple Fighting Game Events After Racist Tweet
Photo: Cameron Baird (Red Bull Content Pool)

After posting a tweet that both mocked the Black Lives Matter movement and peddled in racist tropes, former Evo champion Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez has been banned from several fighting game events. This includes an indefinite suspension from Capcom-related tournaments.

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Ramirez has always been known as something of a heel in the fighting game community, eagerly playing the part of a villain during his heyday as one of the best Marvel vs. Capcom 3 players in the world. But there have been several indications over the years that what many considered an act was really just his personality. The facade slipped for good this past weekend when Ramirez tweeted a picture of a watermelon with the caption “#WatermelonLivesMatter”.

Illustration for article titled Former Evo Champion Banned From Multiple Fighting Game Events After Racist Tweet
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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. Many in the fighting game community spoke out against the tweet, with two major tournaments—East Coast Throwdown and Combo Breaker—quickly handing down bans from future events. Ramirez eventually deleted the offending tweet.

Ramirez later offered a half-hearted apology, which was then negated completely by several angry tweets to fighting game player and commentator David “UltraDavid” Graham, who Ramirez called a “bitch” and accused of “double dipping on shit” when Graham thanked the tournament organizers for stepping in. Some also drew parallels to a recent situation involving Skullgirls developer Mike Zaimont making an “I can’t breathe” joke on stream. Zaimont apologized and has not faced any consequences.

Source: ツ (YouTube)

Today, Capcom joined the growing crowd of voices indicting Ramirez, banning him from its events for the foreseeable future for a violation of the Capcom Pro Tour’s code of conduct.

It’s hard to imagine such action being taken even just a few years ago. There exist countless examples of Ramirez pushing boundaries in the past, but nothing was ever done, most likely due to his status as a top player. And he’s not the only one. The current moment, during which the United States is coming to grips with its history of racism and ongoing prejudice in every part of society, has pushed community leaders to finally address these problems. It should have started a lot sooner, but it’s better than nothing.

Staff Writer, Kotaku

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DISCUSSION

jhb89
Lucidious89

This comment is gonna be trashed to hell, perhaps deservedly so, but I’d really like it if we could get to a point where you can just be an asshole and everyone universally acknowledges that you’re an asshole and treats you as such, but that didn’t have to mean you’d basically have to lose your career over it. I don’t actually know this guy, or if his career as a competitor will recover from this, but I think it’s such a bizarre trend that the way we punish behavior we determined we don’t like is to attack people’s wallets and livelihood. Unless something literally illegal was done, it seems like an overreach to punish someone in this way. At every level in life there are going to be shitty people with shitty opinions and shitty points of view, but in the end we still gotta grit our teeth and work with them. We can’t just put them all in a pile and blast them off to Mars until all that’s left is a utopia. After all the finger-wagging is over with, they’re still...here. And many of them have talents and skills that are beneficial to us as a whole to be put to use, regardless of what dumb shit they believe. And by not utilizing them, all that ends up happening is that they become even more embittered for having things they worked for taken away from them by people they probably hate even more now. I just don’t see it as a productive cycle that’s gonna get us anywhere besides everyone just being more and more scared to make even the smallest missteps in fear of losing their income.