A professional FIFA player has been dropped by Dutch football club PSV Eindhoven after it discovered homophobic and sexist remarks made online by its new signing. Tony Kok had been signed with the club for just two days before being let go.
PSV’s actions follow ongoing efforts by esports organisations to combat unacceptable behaviour by their top stars, with a Brazilian League of Legends player recently being fined and suspended because of racist Twitter posts.
PSV Lets FIFA Player Go Due to Concerning Twitter Posts
Just two days after announcing that professional FIFA player Tony Kok had been picked up by the football team, PSV announced that it would be ending its contract with the esports talent. A statement made by the club (translated via Google Translate), explained that although it did a background check that included Kok’s online behaviour, the FIFA player was not “open” about his online postings.
The posts, PSV says, are “so far from the core values” of the club that continuing to work with Kok would be “impossible.” Many of these Twitter posts appear to have been deleted but have since been recovered by fans (via soccernews.) Kok is a fan of PSV rival Ajax and in one tweet he referred to PSV fans as “farmers,” a derogatory term for gay people. Other posts (which are all in Dutch) are said to be misogynistic too.
In a statement to AD, representatives for the disgraced FIFA player accuse people of waging a “smear campaign” against him and also wave away the offending tweets, which were made as far back as 2011, as a product of Kok’s youth. “We understand perfectly if [PSV] does not want to be confronted with such statements. Tony is broken and is also responsible for this.” The player’s representatives also encourage others to “think twice” about what they say online.
Kok, who is now 22 years old, is said to have made the last of these posts when he was 18 and at least one of the posts dates back to when he was 16. There is something to be said for all games industry professionals (and people in general) who make offensive remarks but then their views evolve over time and as they grow older. But Kok’s comments still cannot be excused – he is responsible for them and PSV can’t have someone who makes comments like that representing the club.
Kok’s comments also don’t represent the wider FIFA community. Although there was some backlash when EA supported an LGBT pride campaign in FIFA 17, most were on-board, likewise when the FIFA series first introduced female characters. EA itself isn’t involved in PSV’s decision, but it has separately punished esports players for making offensive comments.
Esports is a growing industry and as seen with the Overwatch pro player who was fired for going on a racist tirade, esports organisations are quick to put their foot down when players exhibit unacceptable behaviour. PSV’s decision to drop Kok is unlikely to be the last announcement of its kind as more and more professional players sign with teams, but it is at least positive to see them taking action.
Like this post? Like J Station X on Facebook.