Cover image source: @Mineski.tv
Almost a month after TNC’s Carlo ‘Kuku’ Palad became the centre of drama after making inappropriate comments in a pub game, Valve has decided to step in and ban him from the Chongqing Major. The incident had quickly escalated after Kuku’s apology on Weibo, which was seen as a deliberate attempt to mislead the fans. Despite his manager owning up to the mistake later on, the damage had already been dealt and rumours were rife that the local government had decided to ban Kuku from the upcoming Chongqing Major.
This didn’t go down too well with the Dota 2 community, especially those not from China who were, among many things, upset at the politicization of their favourite game and the extreme nature of the punishment handed out for a comment in a pub game. While there was no official confirmation that he had indeed been banned it seemed quite likely as the information had come from various reliable sources.
Despite the fact that TNC handed out some heavy fines to both Kuku and their manager for making a mess of the situation, the situation was never really resolved with TNC stating that though Kuku wasn’t banned from the Major, the TO’s lack of assurance towards Kuku’s safety and threats from the organizers to cancel the event meant that they had yet to decide what they were going to do.
However, after weeks of the community urging Valve to step in and provide some clarity on the matter, the publisher has finally broken their silence and decided to ban Kuku from the Major. They did make an earlier statement condemning the incident and did mention that "Going forward, we expect all teams who participate in our tournaments to hold its players accountable, and be prepared to follow up with strong punishments when players represent Dota and its community poorly."
In their most recent announcement, that came out last night, the company has decided that TNC’s attempts at handling the situation has been poor and their attempts at playing the victim, covering up the situation and trying to deflect it onto the community has been unprofessional and the org has failed to take up accountability for their actions. As a result, Kuku has been banned from the Major and additionally TNC has been docked 20% of their current DPC points.
While the response from Valve has put some perspective into the matter and provided closure to all parties involved and the community in general, the delay in communication has lead to the community being divided and it became a China vs the world issue which could have had major repercussions, given that TI9 is meant to happen in Shanghai. However, the damage may already have been done with many members of the community including talent, refusing to attend the event. Whether the talent will reverse their decision is yet to be seen, but already there is a growing concern that the Chongqing Major is on its way to becoming the next Shanghai Major.
Currently, the list of people who have confirmed that they will not be attending the event are:
The story looks likely to continue to develop over the next few days but for now it seems like both TNC and Kuku have accepted their fate. The incident although quite traumatizing and polarizing for the community has been a learning experience for not just orgs and players but for the entire community, TO’s and especially Valve themselves. The incident also brings to light, a need for a comprehensive rulebook especially with regards to the DPC as many of the situations could have been avoided if there was more information available or Valve had communicated earlier.