StarCraft 2 pro-gamer and divisive community figure Greg ‘IdrA’ Fields has been relieved of his position in top team Evil Geniuses after insulting fans in a forum discussion earlier this week.
In a StarCraft thread on Wednesday, one fan suggested – half-jokingly – that IdrA’s apparent behavioural problems were prompted by a need for large characters in successful eSports.
“nope you’re all a bunch of fucks,” replied IdrA. “it just so happens i get paid to treat you like it. it’s fucking awesome.”
A day later, it transpired that Evil Geniuses’ management believed they were paying IdrA for something else entirely, and had ejected him from the team.
“To state the obvious, this was a very difficult decision for us,” said the team’s management in an official statement. “Over the past several years, we as an organization have grown close to Greg, and we have developed a deep appreciation and respect for him as a person. We consider him a member of our family, and parting ways with him leaves us all with a very heavy feeling in our stomachs.”
EG management explained that IdrA’s behaviour had been tolerated for so long because they believe that “our industry’s diverse assortment of vibrant personalities plays a huge part in helping make eSports so much fun”.
“No great novel is without great characters, and we like to let our players find their own roles within the eSports storyline by showcasing the personalities they were born with. We have strict guidelines that regulate certain kinds of more extreme speech, and we take disciplinary action when those guidelines aren’t followed, but for the most part, we stay out of the way.”
However, the team draw a distinct line between Fields’ rudeness in-game and that which he displayed this week, towards fans.
“To us, there’s a very big difference between a player being disrespectful to an opponent in a ladder match, and a player being disrespectful to the entire community of people who, via their own enthusiasm and passion for the entertainment product he creates, actually make his profession possible,” they concluded.
The news was broken during weekly StarCraft community talk show State of the Game, where Evil Geniuses’ Geoff ‘iNcontroL’ Robinson had been talking at length about the “unacceptable” extremes of IdrA’s behaviour, the increasing demands for professionalism in eSports, and the lengths EG have taken to help Fields “build a better person”.
“My immediate response is ‘Holy fuck, that sucks’. Greg’s one of my best friends,” said Robinson upon hearing the news. “But when a guy says over and over again that he hates the game that he’s playing, he hates his fanbase, and he doesn’t care?
“EG is working really hard to get away from the image of ‘We don’t care about the people that support us and we just do this for money’. So when one guy’s championing that unabashedly and just saying, ‘That is what it is, it’s who I am’, then I guess EG has to approach them, talk about it, and if they don’t want to change, then perhaps sever them.”
Robinson was visibly distraught during the chat, and the stream was temporarily cut shortly afterwards to allow him time to recover. Fields had been a part of Evil Geniuses’ roster since 2010, and recently moved to San Francisco to better work with the team.
Some time later, StarCraft 2 shoutcaster and community hero Day9 offered his thoughts. As ever, he proved to be a font of positive thinking and perspective:
What are your thoughts on IdrA’s enforced departure? Was his sentence just?