Riot Games apologizes for “mistake” amid Sinatraa investigation, forces new training

Sinatraa playing OverwatchRobert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Following Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won’s announcement that he’s seeking a return to competitive Valorant, the former Sentinels player revealed he was able to skip certain behavioral training with Riot Games. Just hours later and Riot has backflipped on this stance, calling it a “mistake” amid public pressure.

12 months ago, Overwatch League MVP turned Valorant pro Sinatraa was accused of abuse by his ex-girlfriend Cleo Hernandez. Shortly after these allegations surfaced, the then 21-year-old was suspended from competition.

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Riot Games launched its own investigation as Hernandez separately filed a police report. This investigation from the Valorant developer hit a brick wall, however, as Sinatraa not only failed to “cooperate” but also “misrepresented certain facts” and made “false statements.”

At the time, Riot assured his behavior was not to be “tolerated.” Now a full year removed from this statement and beyond being cleared to return, Sinatraa was also allowed to skip mandatory behavioral training.

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Naturally, this led to a divide in the community as thousands spoke up with either support for his return, or criticism of Riot’s handling of the situation.

Following up on his return announcement, Sinatraa doubled down on April 14, claiming “there was an investigation that found no conclusive evidence,” failing to mention his unwillingness to cooperate.

In an email attached to his post on Twitter, Riot confirmed he was once again “fully eligible to sign up and play in VCT” from January 12 onwards.

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It’s in this email that his lack of cooperation was seemingly brushed aside. Despite initially enforcing mandatory training, the obscured Riot employee informed Sinatraa it was no longer required.

“The training was supposed to focus on ‘cooperating with investigations,’ however, we feel like you would already know most of the information covered in the training,” they said.

Sinatraa on stageOverwatch League
Sinatraa has continued growing his fanbase on Twitch over the past 12 months, despite the allegations against him.

With another wave of public criticism ensuing from this email, Riot was once more forced to respond under the weight of community backlash.

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John Needham, Esports President at Riot Games took to Twitter on April 15 to outline how the Competitive Operations Team wasn’t even aware of this email to Sinatraa in the first place.

One rogue member of this crew “stated incorrectly that a mandatory component of a competitive ruling was not necessary,” according to Needham.

“We have informed [Sinatraa] that contrary to that communication, and in accordance with the competitive ruling, he is required to undergo professional conduct training.

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“The training will focus on conducting oneself as a professional, complying with rules and regulations, and complying with investigations.”

Again apologizing to fans for the “mistake,” Needham revealed that a new, internal investigation is now underway at Riot to “ensure competitive rulings are followed through correctly in the future.”