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Penn State Esports Disciplined For Players’ Misogynistic Comments

Penn State Valorant, an esports team affiliated with the Penn State Esports Club, found itself in hot water this week after team players allegedly made misogynistic comments toward a female opponent in an online competition Monday.

In response, Conference One, a college varsity esports organization that hosts Valorant competitions, banned Penn State from streaming conference matches on its Twitch channels for the remainder of the year.

Additionally, according to the conference, Penn State’s team was placed on probation and could receive a more comprehensive ban if another infraction occurs. Conference One said it contacted Penn State’s administration to notify the university of players’ conduct.

Penn State and Virginia Tech virtually competed Monday in Valorant, a five-versus-five first-person shooter game. While waiting in an online lobby, one Penn State player, TiTan0s, made a comment about being “erect and ready.” Dnos, a female Virginia Tech player, initially got in on the joke but was mocked when TiTan0s replied, “Is that a female?”

Penn State players also insinuated Dnos received unfair advantages by playing as a woman. Ironically, Penn State lost the match.

Conference One suspended TiTan0s indefinitely, while two other Penn State players received one-week suspensions.

Dnos posted a screen recording of the incident on Twitter that attracted more than 2,300 likes at the time of writing.

“As sad as it may sound, this type of behavior is expected in ranked or unrated [matches], but the fact that these players’ immediate reaction is to be sexist ‘as a joke’ is absolutely unacceptable, especially in a professional collegiate setting,” Dnos told esports blog CheckpointXP through a Twitter DM Thursday.

Later, via a statement posted Friday, Penn State Esports took more drastic action. The club permanently banned TiTan0s and another player, A3ro, removing both from the Valorant team and the organization as a whole.

Fozzybear, the team’s captain, was not banned after the organization found he did not engage in the harassment and attempted to diffuse the situation.

In its statement, Penn State Esports said it was “disappointed” by the actions taken by players against Virginia Tech Monday, noting the conduct was “not only harmful but intolerable.”

“We all recognize the need to do better in our actions to cultivate a more inclusive space for esports that does not tolerate or normalize sexual harassment, gender inequity, and discriminatory behavior or actions,” the organization wrote. “We pledge to improve our policies [which already do not condone such behavior] and our practices around the support and inclusion of women and other minoritized in esports.”

The group said it’s working with its faculty advisor, Dr. Gabriela Richard, to learn more about inclusive efforts through esports.

“We stand in support of women in esports and professional gaming,” the club wrote. “We stand against the ongoing discrimination, in its many forms, women experience in gaming and esports. And we pledge to make equality and inclusion a core value and requirement for membership and representation in competitive events moving forward.”

At the time of writing, neither Penn State nor TiTan0s responded to requests for comment on this week’s events. It’s unclear if the university will take disciplinary actions toward the involved students.

Editor’s note: Onward State staffer George Liu is currently a photographer with Penn State Esports. He was not involved in the production of this reporting in any way.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]


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