Representatives of the four Chinese organizations in the Overwatch League said they will boycott games and any other activities in which Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park of the Seoul Dynasty takes part, Dot Esports reported Monday.
Their action comes in response to comments Saebyeolbe made last month on a Chinese live stream about politics and national sovereignty in China. He later apologized, but the other Overwatch League teams said it isn’t enough.
The teams are believed to be boycotting just Saebyeolbe and not the Dynasty. It likely means that the game boycott wouldn’t be enforced if the Dynasty used another player at DPS.
The Dynasty play in OWL’s East Region with the Chengdu Hunters, Shanghai Dragons, Hangzhou Spark, Guangzhou Charge, Los Angeles Valiant, New York Excelsior and Philadelphia Fusion.
“As a well-treated and loved public figure in China, he should understand his public position, assume his own social responsibilities, focus on competition … instead of arbitrarily making bad statements that challenge the sovereignty of other countries,” said Van “Van” Yang, the general manager of the Dragons, in a Weibo social media post translated by Google.
Saebyeolbe, a 25-year-old South Korean, signed with the Dynasty last fall after three seasons with the New York Excelsior.
“I understand that what I said at that moment hurt the hearts of many fans. At the same time, I know that getting forgiveness from everyone is never easy,” he posted, in part, on Instagram in Korean. “I will keep this lesson in mind and strive to become a professional player who can be responsible for my words and deeds in the future.
“Once again, I sincerely apologize to the fans who have been hurt by my improper words and deeds.”
The Dynasty are 3-2 and in seventh place in the Overwatch League standings. They failed to qualify for next week’s May Melee.
–Field Level Media