It's been a rough past few days of a rough month of a rough first season for Dallas Fuel, the Overwatch League's most star-studded team. Today alone, one member, Timo "Taimou" Kettunen, finally apologised for using a homophobic slur on stream, while another, Félix "xQc" Lengyel, said he might quit the team entirely.
Taimou. Photo: Robert Paul (Blizzard Esports)
Taimou used said slur on stream on January 23, but his situation came to a head over the weekend, when ESPN reported that he still hadn't received any sort of punishment for it - or if he had, it was being kept far, far away from prying public eyes. This came after the Dallas Fuel suspended Taimou's teammate, the aforementioned xQc, for a month after he told Houston Outlaws tank Muma, who is openly gay, to "suck a fat cock". Today, Taimou finally broke the silence with a brief apology.
"I am sorry to the fans and supporters I let down and offended recently," he wrote today, nearly six weeks after the incident in question. "I listen and read all the comments and I am utmost disappointed in myself that I said those things and all I can do is apologise and move forward."
xQc, meanwhile, only got un-suspended a couple weeks ago, but has since gone on a shit-stirring rampage that could be described as "Winston-esque" if Winston had no impulse control and a small army of fans on Twitch who constantly enabled his antics. Among other things, he's repeatedly talked trash about Houston Outlaws star player Jake "Jake" Lyon, as well as Overwatch League's commentators, who he referred to as "cancer". He also spammed the Twitch "Trihard" emote - an image of a well-known streamer that's unfortunately been commandeered by racist arseholes - in the chat of an Overwatch League stream while host Malik Forté was on screen. He's hardly the only person doing that, and he's since claimed during a stream that he didn't realise Forté was on screen at the time, but given the context, his actions still don't make for a great look.
These actions have, predictably, not made him any friends. During a stream, Jake took umbrage at the fact that xQc made a custom Twitch emote that, in his eyes, specifically exists to allow viewers to make fun of him, while Overwatch League commentators Erik "DoA" Lonnquist and Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles staged an elaborate video skit in which the former played a doctor who diagnoses the latter with "Xtremely Questionable Conduct", or xQc for short.
"Being a living embodiment of Twitch chat isn't a substitute for having a personality," MonteCristo said on Twitter in response to a faux-apology from xQc.
All of this has Overwatch League followers wondering if Taimou and xQc will receive punishments for their actions, per the recently revealed (read: Hastily summarised) Overwatch League code of conduct, which Dallas Fuel told us they base their own code of conduct on. For the moment, nobody's making any official statements. "We have no additional comments or insights here," a Dallas Fuel rep told us in an email today.
However, there have been rumours that punishments are on the table for both players, and xQc's spent the past 24 hours popping in and out of his Discord ominously proclaiming that he's about to be hit with a doozy of a punishment. "It's rly rly rly rly bad and makes me look TERRIBLE," xQc wrote, adding that another team's owner complained that he attacked his player while on stream, and that will factor into his punishment. "I'm not banned from OWL, not even close," xQc later wrote. "But I'll be deciding whether or not I'm stepping down."
Today, meanwhile, the team officially confirmed that they have signed Korean main tank Son "OGE" Min-seok to their roster. Main tank is the position xQc plays, and while this is by no means a guarantee that xQc's getting replaced, it isn't exactly a sign of smooth sailing, either.
All of this comes on the back of a gnarly loss to low-ranked team and Naruto colour scheme enthusiasts SF Shock yesterday, the mushy old cherry atop a series of wildly uneven performances. This has prompted criticism of the team's head coach, in addition to its players. Players, in turn, have posted downtrodden statuses and attempted to take the blame for the team's less-than-stellar play, with DPS phenom Hyeon "Effect" Hwang going so far as to say that making him the centrepiece of many strats has been too much for him.
Even Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod, the most cheerful person in the entire Overwatch League and perhaps on planet Earth, is having trouble keeping up his sunny disposition. "It's not 1 person fault," the Dallas Fuel flex player wrote on Twitter. "Pls stop blaming coach or 1 player in the team, but if it makes you happy then do it to me."