When a leaked screenshot from legendary T1 support Effort showed that Nick ‘LS’ De Cesare was going to be the next coach for T1, the West rejoiced. LS is a shining example of an analyst and generally an accomplished figure within the competitive LoL scene.
Not only this, he struck as the perfect coach for T1. As Richard Lewis states, LS moved to South Korea, speaks the language and has embraced the culture. T1 fans, however, have not embraced him.
It’s important to note that T1 fans are some of, in Lewis’ words, the “most vicious” in the esports sector, and LS has always received comments about being ‘racially inferior.’ This time though, T1 fans have taken their toxicity to new heights.
As Lewis points out, LS is an openly gay man; something that South Korea has been slow to accept. This, coupled with LS being a non-native is what Lewis considers the main reason for T1 fans’ backlash, and it’s largely been ignored. With Riot Games too afraid to challenge T1 in case Korean and Chinese sponsors drop them, this situation feeds into a larger issue. T1’s apology solidifies this, as LS is never mentioned. Instead, the apology was to the very fans causing the problem.
In Lewis’ words: “as long as the games keep on going and the money keeps on coming in, certain fanbases are always going to be allowed to get away with the worst kinds of behaviour” — a haunting conclusion to a sombre discussion.