It was a tournament just like any other, up until someone hurled a dead crab at Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma.
DeBiedma, a longtime Super Smash Bros. Melee pro who represents esports organization Team Liquid, was playing in the grand finals of Pound 2019 against Cloud9’s Joseph “Mango” Marquez after avoiding elimination and making a tense run through the losers bracket. DeBiedma claimed the grand finals, and then an angry fan threw the dead crab he had smuggled into the venue.
The crab did not connect with DeBiedma, but he was aware of the assault. After a moment of incredulousness and shock, he picked up the crab and shouted at the audience. It was a tense and unfortunate end to an otherwise exciting tournament.
DeBiedma later took to Twitter to clarify what had been thrown on stage — which wasn’t clear from video footage — and to apologize for his conduct on stage.
The organizers of Pound have announced that they intend to permaban the crab thrower from future tournaments, and his name will also be distributed to other tournament organizers. Pound’s staff said they do not intend to release the fan’s name publicly.
DeBiedma is Super Smash Bros. Melee’s most successful player, and known for maining Jigglypuff. His dominance, combined with play on a character many consider frustrating, have made him a controversial figure and he has received harassment in the past. In 2018, he tweeted about the continuous conflict, writing, “I’m literally mocked by my peers, my competitors, and community figureheads on a daily basis. Like what’s the point anymore.”
This is not the first time there have been security concerns at an esports event. At the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational in 2017, a random fan jumped on stage with SK Telecom T1 and hugged the team, who were considered the best in the world. In 2018, League of Legends player Eugene “Pobelter” Park wrote: “If ur showing up as a fan to LCS, don’t do weird shit like twist our nipples at the fan meets after matches. What is wrong with you people.” A fan also grabbed and twisted the nipple of Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black on camera after a LCS match.
A shooting in August 2018 at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, further underlined the necessity of security at events. This weekend’s attack is a reminder that these issues are more prevalent than we think, and that players must be protected during tournaments from incidents of assault.
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