The winner of a Madden 2017 eSports tournament recently got into a major publicity gaffe that reaffirms how important it is to watch your conduct over social media. Chris “Dubby” McFarland, the winner of the Madden Bowl 2017 finals, was penalized a $3,000 fine and a ranking penalty over his conduct over Twitter. According to EA, McFarland’s Tweets “referenced inappropriate content”, “violated our Code of Conduct,” and “don’t represent the values of our organization.”

The Madden Bowl 2017 is one of the most high-profile Madden eSports events to date. That’s why when McFarland took part in the tournament, eSports fans found his Twitter and uncovered a number of his past Tweets. Notably, people discovered that he had a history for using racial slurs and comments (Note: there’s particularly strong and offensive language here) against black people.

These Tweets weren’t why EA fined him, however. EA initially gave McFarland a stern warning and gave a strong statement on behalf of their reputation. Matt Marcou, the competitive gaming commissioner for Madden at EA, stated, “These posts violated our Code of Conduct and don’t represent the values of our organization,” Marcou immediately met with McFarland to “warn him that his posts were inappropriate and could not continue.”

Chris Dubby McFarland

EA fined McFarland for behavior “during and directly after” the Madden Bowl. Failing to heed EA’s warning, McFarland put out a series of aggressive, inflammatory Tweets calling out the people who dug up his past Tweets. EA then decided to take action by docking part of his tournament earnings.

Most of the Tweets have been accordingly deleted. However, this one still remains. It’s a strong example of the kind of sportsmanship that got him penalized, and it’s a shame to see it happen at one of the Madden competitive scene’s higher levels.

McFarland won $75,000 out of a $250,000 prize pool. However, because of the Twitter incidents, he lost $3,000 of the cut. Additionally, EA erased 100 Madden NFL Championship Series Points from his record. To give a sense of scale for how hard that hits, the highest ranked player in the December standings had 1,000 points.

Afterwards, McFarland offered Tweets and a message to Polygon offering remorse for his words.

[A lot] of what I said was outta passion and emotion at the time. I understand everything that I did wrong and accept responsibility for my words.

Honestly the fine just shows how much this game is growing. It’s not just for the small group of pro Madden players, it’s for the entire country. We as players need to understand that we not only represent ourselves but the growth of the game. […] EA holding us more responsible for our actions is a reflection on how big they want Madden to grow, at the end of the day that’s what we all want.

I have accepted the consequences and plan on representing both myself and the game of Madden positively.

McFarland still has a spot in the Madden Championship, the fourth and final tournament of this season’s EA Major Series. The Championship will take place on May 31. However, he’s learned a valuable lesson about the responsibilities of eSports fame and representing the companies behind those games. EA was generous to forgive his earlier Tweets before his Madden fame, but McFarland stepped over the line when he delved into trash talk. Trash talk has real and serious consequences for professionals, and EA showed that it and other companies would take action against supporting problematic players.

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Robert R
Sr. News Editor