FNATIC’s Valorant roster is now a player short after the organization decided to suspend Andrey ‘BraveAF’ Gorchakov.
The decision comes following a period of public backlash against the Russian player after a number of private messages were posted to social media.
The messages – written in Russian – show a conversation about the current conflict in Ukraine.
On February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin’s military commenced a wide-ranging attack on the neighboring country, causing a humanitarian crisis with millions fleeing the war.
FNATIC suspends Russian Valorant pro
FNATIC made the decision to suspend BraveAF on March 30, with an investigation to take place.
Their public statement reads: “We are aware of an ongoing situation with one of our Valorant players, Andrey ‘BraveAF’ Gorchakov. Effective immediately Gorchakov will be suspended from pro play at Fnatic while we launch an investigation.”
An update regarding BraveAF. pic.twitter.com/7OxrT7mJ2C
— FNATIC (@FNATIC) March 30, 2022
It continued: “We will have further updates on our Valorant roster in the coming days.”
The messages can be seen below, in a post from yXo.
The user said: “A player of your team supports the war in Ukraine. Denies civilian casualties. It seems he has no right to represent your organization in esport. Pay attention please.”
A player of your team supports the war in Ukraine. Denies civilian casualties. It seems he has no right to represent your organization in esport. Pay attention please. @braveaff @FNATIC @PlayVALORANT pic.twitter.com/WSJ7i5PJ1E
— yXo (@yxo7) March 30, 2022
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According to translations, the messages show the professional player seemingly in support of the conflict.
Translated writing from the Twitter thread reads: “People in the West have achieved the collapse of the USSR. Now they want the collapse of the CIS and all. Putin won’t let that happen.”
Then, he went on to repeat lines from the Putin playbook, such as “civilians will not be harmed.”
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported at least 902 civilians have died in the war, with over 1,400 wounded.
BraveAF responds to FNATIC suspension
The player has since responded to the suspension on Twitter, claiming the comments were made on the day of the invasion.
He said: “About current situation… these screenshots are from direct messages of me and Ukrainian girl. We had a little chat before 24th of February and I wrote her in the morning of 24th February to know if she’s alright.”
… thoughts and first impressions, and by that time my Knowledge were farm from I learned after, cus I wasn’t out of politics at all. You can clearly see on those pictures that I want this to end asap and don’t want people to get hurt or killed…
— FNATIC braveaf (@braveaff) March 30, 2022
“By that time nobody knew what’s going on and I just wrote my initial thoughts and first impressions, and by that time my Knowledge were farm from I learned after, cus I wasn’t out of politics at all,” he continued.
“You can clearly see on those pictures that I want this to end asap and don’t want people to get hurt or killed.”
FNATIC has qualified for the VCT Masters in Iceland, which will take place next month. It’s unclear if BraveAF will be allowed to play as he might face visa issues.