Recently I wrote an article about Wizards of the Coast’s decision to ban Zach Jesse for life, and what powers games companies should and shouldn’t have over the removal of players from their game. This was a controversial topic as Jesse had previously been convicted of sexual assault.
When I shared my article on my own personal Facebook page, in an attempt to generate some traffic towards the article, I put up this caption: “Wizards of the Coast ban a convicted rapist for life, and I think it’s unfair. Read this then tell me if I have a point.” This was a mistake. I had changed the direction of the article from Wizards banning processes and diverted it to seem like I was defending a sex offender. I do not stand for defending that kind of crime. I had succumbed to my own worst enemy, a ‘click-bait’ headline. I apologise for that, and to whomever it caused offence. It was miscalculated, foolish and altogether disrespectful. I was not intending to be seen as defending someone who would perpetrate that kind of deplorable crime.
In brief here, I would like to revisit some of the points I was trying to make in the original piece. Wizards have the prerogative to implement any ban, of any length, on any player. They created the rulebook for the governing of their tournaments, and they were not only well within their rights but correct to do so in removing Jesse from the Grand Prix in which he was competing. The stance Wizards took was a no tolerance approach to sexual offenders within their community. Retrospectively while I had seen the additional removal of his Magic Online account as an unnecessary step, I now see that they felt they had to completely remove him to send a message. The fact that while it was a slight ‘knee-jerk’ reaction in the middle of a tournament, it cannot be blamed as they had to do something to show their community they were listening.
The question I was raising, or at least had intended to raise, was what bans should there be on players with violent offenders and players with criminal histories? For the safety of their community of course, bans need to be implemented against players with violent criminal histories, but should there be any bans for other crimes? Should that always extend to online play as well, being still part of the community as a whole or should it just be in physical tournaments? Should that be for life or can there be any sort of period in which the person should be given an opportunity to redeem themselves?
These are the questions that got lost amidst my own attempts to draw attention to the article. As I said before, I was disrespectful to the topic I was writing about, and I hope now that the discussion I had originally intended can be had.