In the last few days, the entire world has been involved in the Hong Kong controversy. I’m not going to go into detail on the situation, as it is entirely political. However, it has started to affect both traditional sports and esports, and we’re here to cover the latter. With the League of Legends Worlds event currently taking place in Europe, a controversy involving one of the teams happened there too. Which team was it, and how did Riot Games respond to the allegations?
If you haven’t guessed it yet, the team in question is none other than Hong Kong Attitude. The Hong Kongese team played in this year’s League of Legends Worlds Play-Ins. What’s more, they managed to advance to the second round, where they beat Isurus Gaming to qualify for the Worlds main event. In their series against Isurus, the casters regularly avoided saying the full name of the team. Instead, they used the abbreviation HKA.
Fans quickly started speculating that Riot gave their casters instructions to avoid the ongoing controversy. This became blatantly apparent before Hong Kong’s match against Isurus, where one of the casters made a small mistake. He almost called the team by their full name, but quickly corrected himself and used the abbreviation. The little slip is shown in the clip below.
Following the controversy that stormed social media, Riot Games quickly responded. Ryan ‘Riot Cactopus’ Rigney, communications lead at Riot Games, tweeted out their official response on Twitter. In a string of tweets, Rigney explained they haven’t told the casters to avoid saying the full name. What’s more, Rigney stated they prefer the use of the full name, but added there is currently some confusion on the issue internally. Furthermore, he gave their official Twitter account as an example of them using both the full name as well as the abbreviation interchangeably.
Lastly, Rigney added a bit of a personal note, saying he understands why the casters did it. After all, it is currently a very sensitive topic based on what’s happened in the last week. He concluded his statement by saying Riot should have prepared the casters better and are going to do a better job at it moving forward.
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.