Schalke 04 defends decision to bench player for being toxic in League solo queue

Schalke believes “the things we say online have a very real impact on people.”

Schalke 04 Esports has come out and defended its action to suspend its League of Legends jungler Ismaïl Isma Boualem. The organization made the initial decision just hours before the teams first match in the EU Masters 2022.

Schalke had not provided any clear reasons for this exemption at that time and it was Isma himself who tweeted out the orgs motivation behind the decision.

Isma explains that he was called up by Schalkes head of esports and told about his benching just hours before the EU Masters match. The head had pointed to Ismas toxic behavior in solo queue as the main reason behind the benching.

After this decision was announced, many League professional players and members of the community came out and criticized Schalke’s decision. Some termed this punishment as an exceedingly harsh one on the player. On the other hand, some even said that Nyro, the Challenger Katarina whom Isma had been toxic to, is a similarly toxic player and should also get banned.

Responding to all these reactions, Schalke has finally addressed this issue directly. In its official statement, it said that an insult in League might hold different weight than it does in the world where we Schalke 04 operate. 

But they also clearly state that such behavior is not acceptable. We dont stand for hate and toxic behavior. Everybody at Schalke – player, manager, staff, employees, board – is asked to internalize that. Weve also put it down in a mission statement, Schalke said.

The organization stated that it has worked against racism, antisemitism, and discrimination for a long time and is still learning to tackle them. It ended its address with strong words, saying Things we say online have a very real impact on people. This is real life and things we say matter. Please Keep that in mind.

Ismas suspension has not favored Schalkes League team in any way. The junglers benching forced top laner Lennart Jaeger Warkuss into the role while substitute support Bastian EliteJoint Ahrens now plays as a top laner. 

Unsurprisingly, these changes proved to be disastrous and Schalke lost back-to-back matches in the EU Masters tournament.

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