Coach Rob ‘Robwiz’ Kennedy has missed the Valorant Game Changers Championship final, after being banned from participating over an “offensive gesture.”
A statement from Valorant Esports claims that on November 19, Kennedy – the coach of Shopify Rebellion GC – made an “offensive gesture” toward Cloud9 White’s players while on stage.
This breached rule 7.1.2 of the Global Competition Policy which states that coaches must “observe the highest standards of personal integrity and good sportsmanship at all times”.
The statement went on to state that any behaviour that “disrespects and insults” players is a violation of standards expected of coaches. Due to this “offensive gesture”
Kennedy was suspended from his next match, which was played yesterday (November 20) and also happened to be the tournament’s grand final. He has also been fined and “warned that any subsequent violations of this policy will result in increased penalties”.
Kennedy took to Twitter himself to express disappointment in missing the grand finals with his team, saying that he “worked so hard with them” to get there. He also apologised to fans of the team, saying “Sorry to anyone I have disappointed”.
Mel from the C9 team also commented to state, “For what it’s worth, this was not instigated by my team. Lexi and I were just talking to Robwiz about the clip earlier to tell him we thought it was funny and that there’s no bad blood between us,” before adding, “Heartbroken for them”.
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) November 20, 2022
Across social media, followers of Valorant esports activities have been expressing concern that there are inconsistent standards amongst penalties issued for breaches of the policy.
Fnatic’s Derke has tweeted a series of photos that show other Valorant players and team staff making offensive gestures of a similar nature, with team Heet’s ec1s stating “If that’s the case then Fnatic are playing 3v5 next official with Derke and Boaster on the sidelines”. It’s noted that a $500 (£420) fine was given to these players, but a match suspension was not.
Twitter user Razur also mentioned that according to the official rules for the Championship, two issues of “flagrant misconduct” are needed in order for a match suspension to be given. “What other act of Flagrant Misconduct did Robwiz commit?” they asked, “Does suspending him from the Grand Finals uphold the spirit of competitive integrity?”
They do mention that, if there was one other instance of this behaviour, it may not have been publicised and therefore cannot assume that there has not been one, but others have said that this should also have resulted in a “separate competitive ruling statement”.