LESLAO Apologizes for Racial Slur on In-Game Effigy

Rakshak Kathuria
Updated On: 
<div class="paragraphs"><p>LESLAO with Quincy Crew at TI10</p></div>
LESLAO with Quincy Crew at TI10


Soniqs offlaner Rodrigo "LESLAO" Santos drew criticism from the Dota 2 community after his in-game effigy was named after a racist slur.
On Twitter, LESLAO said that the name was "inappropriate and hurtful." He added that he had typed it "carelessly" many years ago, and apologized for not spotting it sooner.
Soniqs is one of the four teams that was eliminated at TI11 during the group stage.

In The International 11 (TI11)'s group stage, Soniqs lacked the quality performance it could have put on, resulting in its elimination from the tournament along with three other teams. This day of elimination got worse for Soniqs' offlaner Rodrigo "LESLAO" Santos when the Dota 2 community discovered his in-game effigy was named after a racial slur. As soon as this circulated, the player issued an apology in a brief tweet, acknowledging that he was wrong. As LESLAO claimed, he wrote the term "carelessly" many years ago and then forgot about it until today, when it was brought to his attention.

LESLAO apologizes after his effigy name attracts scrutiny

In the tiebreaker game against BOOM Esports, when survival in TI11 was at stake, Soniqs was almost about to lose when the observer touched the 'Heroic Effigy of Triumph' of LESLAO. In spite of the fact that the racial slur could not be read for long before the observer unclicked the effigy, it was enough to draw scrutiny from the community.

After a couple of Reddit threads, LESLAO acknowledged on Twitter that the name was "inappropriate and hurtful" and apologized for not noticing it sooner.

This is not the first time a Dota 2 player has been targeted for being involved in a race-related incident. Several players have crossed the line and not only hurled expletives at each other, but also passed racist and ethnic insults at each other.

A recent example of this includes beastcoast's carry player Héctor Antonio "K1" Rodriguez using a racial slur against Kim "Febby" Yong-min during a Dota 2 ranked game in July 2022. As a result, when beastcoast faced Thunder Awaken in the final series of Tour 3 of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) 2021-22, Valve refused to allow beastcoast to play with K1 in the series.

Soniqs put out a statement on this issue on Twitter. The organization took the decision of releasing LESLAO from his contract citing a zero tolerance policy for racism or discrimination of any kind. Soniqs stated, "At the conclusion of our TI11 match versus BOOM Esports, there was a racist message visible in game from Rodrigo "LESLAO" Santos. We hold our players to a high standard of professionalism and have a zero tolerance policy for racism or discrimination of any kind. Effective immediately, we have released LESLAO from his contract at the Soniqs."

As for Valve or PGL, it remains to be seen whether they will reprimand LESLAO or Soniqs now that the team has also been eliminated from TI11 and no tournaments are slated for the team in the near future.

LESLAO and Soniqs ultimately lost that game to BOOM Esports. BOOM also defeated BetBoom Team in the tiebreaker leading to Soniqs and BetBoom getting eliminated in Group A of TI11. The other two teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs from the other group were Talon Esports and TSM.

Published On: 
author profile picture
As a passionate Dota 2 fan for eight years, Rakshak has indulged himself completely in its esports circuit for the past two years as a professional. In addition to covering major news developments, he takes a keen interest in understanding team strengths and player personalities.