Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne got into it with League of Legends fans on the Cloud9 Reddit after a conversation about the North American import rule for drafting foreign players broke out on the forum.
League of Legends Championship Series team owners have been pushing for Riot Games to adjust the current rule on imports. This was brought to light by Travis Gafford who claimed that he had spoken to the owners about this change.
A user by the name of Bobothellama made a post on the Cloud9 Reddit to discuss possible import changes. They brought up their issues with importing an entire roster to come play in NA for a better chance at Worlds. The idea of having an all foreign team for NA would take away the “pride” that many fans have then their home country wins. Cloud9’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive team was brought into the discussion to further this example. The CS:GO team was the first all North American roster to win a major tournament. What fans really want is to watch their favorite team win with players from their countries and not with imports.
Cloud9 Jack calls out fans over import rule
Etinne made a response to Bobothellama’s original post on the Cloud9 Reddit page that shocked fans. Bobothellama’s post gave the example of importing five Korean players to a NA roster to win Worlds and said that wouldn’t make them proud. Korean League of Legends players have become a norm for imports in NA, especially players who have already won a World Championship in their career. Etinne’s response–which currently has over 240 downvotes–cited the xenophobia that could be read into that kind of viewpoint.
“I don’t agree with your opinion, and that’s fine. Your comment ‘Not a bunch of Koreans.’ is distasteful and would be considered racist by many. I don’t support xenophobic or racist comments and would like to see us elevate beyond that type of sentiment.”
Cloud9 fans were outraged by the comment from the CEO since the topic was on if there should be a limit on imports or not. Some argued that League of Legends fans want to see players from their own country win in the North American league, and that the same could be said for a European fan who wants to see their own countrymen win instead of someone from North America.
Etinne cleared up his opinions on the import rule during an exclusive League of Legends press conference on February 18. He explained how Cloud9 has always been involved in supporting local talent in the form of their training camps and Academy team. He expanded on this by expressing his desire to bring up any young talent despite where they are located, which is his reasoning behind wanting to remove the import rule in the league altogether.