The two victims in yesterday’s shooting at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Florida were Taylor Robertson and Eli Clayton, professional Madden players who had both found success playing EA’s football simulation game.
Robertson, who went by the handle Spotmeplz, was 27. He was from Ballard, West Virginia, and had made over $US80,000 ($109,275) playing Madden, according to his EA profile. He was married, with a child, and had recently joined the esports team DotCityGaming. “Excited to join this squad!” he wrote earlier this month on Twitter. “Big year ahead!”
Clayton, 22, went by the handle TrueBoy. His hometown was Woodland Hills, California, and he often played as the Jacksonville Jaguars, taking them to the Madden national finals in 2017. One person involved with that event described him to Kotaku as “the nicest kid”.
Earlier this year, Clayton had been elated when he made an appearance as a coach in Madden 18. “I’m literally IN the game,” he wrote on Instagram. “Lol Madden has really changed my life and a game that I used to play for fun is now a big part of my life. Just so blessed to have an opportunity like this. Just such a crazy feeling knowing that tons of people log on and see my face on a Madden NFL game. Unreal.”
Jacksonville police have not yet officially confirmed the victims’ names, but their fellow players, sponsors and esports organisations took to social media yesterday and today to share condolences following yesterday’s shooting.
“They were great competitors and well-loved members of the Madden community,” wrote the group DotCityGaming, which had sponsored Robertson. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their families, loved ones, and all of those affected by this tragedy.”
“I love you brother,” wrote former Madden creative director Rex Dickson, sharing a message he had received from Robertson when he left the series earlier this year.
“Crying and in so much pain,” wrote pro Madden player Eric “Problem” Wright on Twitter. “Prayers to the families of Trueboy and Spotme. All over a video game. Two of our brothers are gone man and its so disturbing. One of the most tragic days I’ve experienced. This community is like family. Broken.”