Blizzard has now taken action against the American University Hearthstone team.
In a tweet on Twitter (below), team member Casey “Xcelsior” Chambers revealed the esports squad had been suspended from Hearthstone competition for six months.
The decision comes after the team displayed an official protest during a tournament last week. American University held up a sign in support of Hong Kong’s independence and encouraging livestream viewers to boycott the publisher.
But, the punishment took longer than even the team anticipated.
“Happy to announce the AU Hearthstone team received a six-month ban from competition,” said Chambers.
“While delayed, I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules.”
The esports team felt the need to protest in support of fellow pro Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai (pictured) - he was banned following his verbal support of his country’s independence from China. As a result, Blitzchung was suspended from tournaments for one year and had his winnings revoked.
However, in a statement by Blizzard’s president J. Allen Brack, the company said it felt it had reacted too strongly against Ng Wai. The Overwatch creator also insisted its ties to China played no part in the severe penalty given to Ng Wai.
The pro esports player had his sentence reduced to six months and saw his winnings reinstated. Ng Wai responded to Blizzard’s statement with one of his own, saying he’s not sure if he will return to Hearthstone and that he will be more careful with expressing his views in the future.
In the aftermath of these protests, Riot Games has announced it wants all League of Legends pro players to stay out of politics.
Happy to announce the AU Hearthstone team received a six month ban from competition. While delayed I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules. pic.twitter.com/mZStoF0e0t— Casey Chambers (@Xcelsior_hs) October 16, 2019