FGC twitter was lit ablaze yesterday by the controversial decision made by Rotendo Camarena to enforce the tea-bagging ban. The outrage over the ban isn’t because of the taunt itself, rather it’s because the actions of one player. I will discuss what led to the ban being enforced and why the ruling is knee jerk at best.

How The Situation Started

According to the PVP Live article, a conversation about Shadow Jago on Killer Instinct Ultimate Fans Facebook page turned into talk about a particular player using his taunt. Someone on the group expressed their opinion about taunts and tea bagging then from there made a threat about physical violence towards someone if they were to see them in-person at a tournament.

The thread was shut down to put a time out on the situation. Then it was reopened so KI World Cup administrator Brandon Alexander could announce tea-bagging is prohibited at KI World Cup. In addition to announcing the ban, the player who issued the threats was told to openly apologize or they would be banned from all KI Wolrd Cup events indefinitely.

Looking at the Punishment

I could not find any other information regarding what happened to the player other than being told to apologize. This is a curious action for Alexander to take considering being charged with making a criminal threat is a very serious situation.

According to the California Penal Code Section 422, California’s law on criminal threats, defines “criminal threats” as the crime of threatening to kill or seriously injure someone. The crime is committed when you intentionally place another person in fear of being killed or seriously injured.

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Criminal threats charges can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Under the California penal code 422 a threat made in person, in writing or by electronic means is considered a criminal offense. Even if the individual does not intend to carry out these criminal threats, California law treats it as a crime.

In my home state of Texas, assault can be charged if you “Intentionally or knowingly threaten someone else, with imminent bodily injury.” Other states who follow into punishing criminal threats include, but not limited to New Hampshire, Alabama, Alaska, ColoradoNew York, Michigan, and Nevada.

In short, criminal threat is a crime. It is strange that such a crime, with clear evidence, was treated in such a way. If the player threatened feared for their life, the individual who made the threat would have a criminal record. Why then, should this individual be allowed to attend future KI events?

Looking at the Reason Behind the Punishment

Returning to the PVP live article, the reason for the ban is to create a safe environment and minimize any drama. For this, I will turn to SFV grand finals at Kumite in Tennessee earlier this year.

In one round during the intense SFV grand final, Wolfkrone taunts his opponent Smug as his character Balrog is being electrocuted by one of Laura’s projectiles. How did Smug react to such an act? A mildly disappointed facial expression. Even after the events at KIT, Smug didn’t take to social media to be spiteful or claim how he was going to beat up Wolfkrone if he saw him at another tournament.

We can even go back to tournaments where Nuckledu has tea-bagged while his opponents character was stunned. YouTuber TheBeast even has a video which documents Nuckledu’s tea-bagging antics. Nuckledu has yet to be threatened by the players he has tea-bagged against. In fact, his antics are often laughed off by commentators, players, and fans alike.

As these examples show, the act of taunting or tea-bagging itself doesn’t cause players to act violent. A safe environment can be had with a little mischief. Some even see taunts/tea-bagging as apart of the gameplay as mentioned by Killer Instinct developer Adam ‘Keits’ Hart. With so many who look at taunting/tea-bagging with little regard, it is odd to see one individual have a sour approach to the act and proceed to type out threats of violence.

Conclusion

In summary, the behavior of one has damned an entire community. A community which has embraced the practices of taunting and tea-bagging as a game mechanic. The individual who has caused the controversy in the first place should have been banned for their behavior instead of taunting/tea-bagging.

In a way, this situation is so similar to the violent video game controversy of the 90’s and now. Blaming what’s in video games for the actions people have taken outside of them instead of holding the individual accountable for their actions.