League player Maria "Remi" Creveling made headlines last August when her team, Renegades, qualified for the League Of Legends Championship Series (LCS), making her the first woman to ever play at that level. Even then she wasn't sure whether she would continue on to play in the LCS, and last week she confirmed that she would be stepping down from the Renegades.
"The past few weeks have been really tough for me as I’ve continued to struggle with a lot of personal issues, most notably anxiety and self-esteem issues. These were amplified by playing on stage and the rigorous day-to-day of being a pro player, compounded with a lot of the stress. Because of this, I felt it was best for me to step down as the support for Renegades," says an official statement made by Remi on the Renegades' website.
"I've been with these guys for a long time, ever since we created the initial Misfits squad. I care a lot about them, they've been my family for the past year. This is why it hurts me to have to say goodbye. When we qualified for LCS, the organization was very supportive of me regardless of if I chose to continue playing after we qualified. While I felt confident coming into the split after NACS finals, it became evident to me that every day took its toll on my happiness and I didn't anticipate how much it would affect me."
While she has mainly spoken about being uncomfortable on stage as the reason she couldn't follow through with LCS (even asking Riot not to focus the cameras on her during a game), Remi has also been the target of sexism and transmisogyny from League Of Legends' notoriously toxic community.
All you needed to do was read the Twitch chat in a game Remi was playing in to see why being the first female LCS player might not be as fun as it sounds. "Look at it this way, the longer I play the more people will get banned from chat!" she pointed out in one Reddit thread prior to her split from Renegades.
Not sure if I'll ever be able to play comfortably on stage, sorry to those that supported me.
— Maria (@RenegadeMaria) January 31, 2016
end it all with a hug from @aphromoo thank you guys for the support, it was fun.
— Maria (@RenegadeMaria) February 1, 2016
Renegades announced Nick “Hakuho” Surgent as a last-minute replacement for Remi for the past weekend's games, although lost games to both Cloud9 and TSM.
While Remi has expressed that she has other plans for the future outside of playing League, it seems that she plans to avoid the spotlight going forward. Back in August Remi stated that she only wanted to prove that a girl could make it into the LCS, and she has already achieved that goal.
"When I set out initially, I wanted to be the first girl in LCS. That was what motivated me. That dream I had I accomplished and yet it is being challenged in such a heartless way." We can only hope that one day the professional Esports stage will be a friendlier for place female players.