The Overwatch League has announced that Philadelphia Fusion Tank player SADO will be suspended for the entirety of the Overwatch League preseason and the first 30 matches of the regular season for account boosting. He will be able to participate in all Fusion matches after his suspension ends, including playoff matches should Fusion qualify.
SADO had previously been banned from OGN competitions, including APEX, for boosting. Questions about his eligibility in the Overwatch League began to form when he was not included in an official Overwatch League roster video earlier in the month. Those questions only increased in number when he was removed from the team page and player database on the Overwatch League website earlier this week.
Since then, SADO has been put back on the team's roster page and the player database. Immediately after the Overwatch League announced SADO's suspension, the Fusion released a statement on Twitter.
SADO's suspension will have no impact on when he can join his teammates in the team house and practice with them, according to Kirby, Philadelphia's Head Coach and General Manager. His suspension will impact what he can and cannot do on match days. However, the Fusion are unable to go into detail at this time.
While he serves his suspension, SADO will participate in scrims and practice with the team as he would normally. Kirby stated that there would be no reason to limit SADO's practice time since the team's 12 player roster allows them to scrim by fielding two full teams against each other.
While the Philadelphia Fusion knew about SADO's history with boosting when they signed him, they did not know whether or not he'd have to face some kind of suspension to begin the season, said Kirby. He went on to state that Blizzard does background checks on each player when a team submits their roster but believed timing may have played a part in the last month of uncertainty regarding the status of SADO.
"When we actually finalized our roster, it was fairly close to the end of the signing window," Kirby said. "Blizzcon was a few days after and so I think it's fair to say they didn't quite have the time to do their due diligence and [SADO's history] went unnoticed." He said that after it went public, the team contacted Blizzard to make they were on top of the situation.
NamedHwi, assistant coach for the Philadelphia Fusion, had known about SADO as a top solo-queue player on Korea's ranked ladder and recommended that the team give him a tryout. He impressed the team during his tryout, Kirby said, and gave the Fusion what they believed they needed out of their second tank player. While NamedHwi believed there might be some backlash toward his signing, Kirby said the team did not expect it to the degree that they have seen.
Kirby and the team are still confident in SADO as a player and a person. He praised SADO's mechanical play and decision-making at the tank position, and believes SADO to be the Winston player to complement fragi's Reinhardt.
Kirby said SADO understands that what he did was not acceptable. "He is very determined to prove he is worthy of this second chance," he said. "I hope that, in time, fans of the Philadelphia Fusion will be able to see that."