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A pro gamer has retired after EA banned the player for a disrespectful 'Mum joke' against a 14-year old opponent. In December of 2020, longtime FIFA pro Harry Hesketh played the talented Anders Verjrgang, a teenage player destined for FUT greatness, when Hesketh made a joke regarding the teen's mum. EA issued a ban to Hesketh which has now prompted the pro to retire from EA's esport altogether.
Anders Verjrgang is known for being a bit of a prodigy so when Hesketh ended up going against him in a match in December, the 25-year-old spent a lot of the match joking around, drinking, cheering the teenager on, and more. Eventually, during the livestream, Hesketh makes a comment about long fingers and Verjrang's mum - you can imagine the sort of comment it was without much more elaboration than that.
In a video showcasing the match on Hesketh's channel, the player addresses both the constant criticism his opponent got - saying he's a teenager, allow him to be a bit cocky and don't send the lad hate - but also the joke he made regarding the teen's mum. To quote Hesketh, "straight after the game, I reached out to him saying I didn't send anyone [to give Anders hate]. And after it when we were talking about his reaction and stuff I made one distasteful comment, right. I said something like his fingers might be quick, but mine were longer and I made a reference to his mother.
"And I know that a UK base is going to be like, 'well it's a mum joke, who hasn't made a mum joke' and try to defend me but don't defend me. At the end of the day, he is 14, it's a distasteful comment and so for that, I apologise directly to Anders and his mother."
Hesketh goes on to say that the exact clip of this happening isn't in the video that he has released to honour the wishes of Anders' team but the full match can be seen here. Following this EA put a ban on Hesketh, albeit a short one, for the joke specifically. Although Hesketh says he knew about it for weeks, the ban was only put in place January 22, in this blog post announcing the action. The official ban is for the Europe Regional Qualifier which takes place between February 6-7. EA says that the player was "suspended in response to language used during a Twitch broadcast on December 12th, 2020 in reference to an opponent's immediate family member. Due to a prior Final Warning for an Official Rules and Code of Conduct violation, the penalty, in this case, is escalated to a one qualifier suspension."
As a result, Hesketh has announced his retirement from all EA's FIFA tournaments because of the double standard he thinks is present. The pro says that he would have got the same ban if he had said something racist. He also says that he could point out similar jokes in every pro-FIFA player out there, it's unfair that he's been treated like this over a joke he had already apologised for and Verjrgang's team had also seemingly dismissed as harmless.
Hesketh says retirement is a massive risk to him - the biggest he's ever taken. It is giving up his main source of income over a ban that isn't that big, but he can't stand by EA after being treated in that manner. He says what's important is entertaining his fanbase and after a year of fighting for the world cup that was ultimately cancelled in 2020, he's more focused on entertaining and supporting his community. Thanks for the story, Eurogamer!
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