LESLÃO apologizes for extremely offensive Dota 2 Effigy shown at TI11

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Sometimes a live event can shine some light on aspects of a game, player, or team that wouldn’t have been discovered in any other situation. In the case of The International 2022, one observer revealed a racial slur during one of Soniqs’ final games of the Dota 2 event’s group stage. 

As Soniqs were fighting to keep their TI11 hopes alive against BOOM Esports in a tiebreaker match, an observer hovered over a Heroic Effigy of Triumph in Rodrigo “LESLÃO” Santos’ inventory by happenstance. Effigy items can be crafted and customized to include poses and inscriptions of the player’s choice, and this specific Effigy included a very direct racial slut. 

The inscription blatantly shows that LESLÃO created it and features the term “run nigga” on its viewable plate. This was quickly spread around social media despite it only being on screen for just over a second. 

Following the game, which saw Soniqs eliminated from TI11, LESLÃO posted an apology for the Effigy, claiming that he had forgotten about creating it “many years ago.”

Screengrab via PGL

“The message on my effigy was just brought into focus. It’s clearly inappropriate and hurtful, and I apologize for ever writing it,” LESLÃO said. “I had carelessly written it many years ago and then forgotten about it, and I’m deeply sorry for both doing so and not checking/removing it earlier.”

That is the only response anyone involved with the team has given regarding the situation, but the community has pointed out that this is not the first time a situation like this has happened this season. 

Jumping back to the regional qualifiers in September, Infamous midlaner Leonardo “Leostyle-” Sifuentes was seen with a Courier wearing a name tag that said “Nymun – The Nigga.” This resulted in Infamous being penalized during the grand finals of the qualifier, where they went on to lose 0-3 to Hokori. 

With their elimination from TI11, the 2022 season is now over for Soniqs and it is likely the team will go through some form of roster shuffle. LESLÃO only rejoined the team when it was still Quincy Crew back in May and, with the timing of this situation, Soniqs might just decide to part ways with the Brazillian player earlier than expected. 

Update Oct. 18 11:43pm CT: Soniqs have provided a statement on the situation with LESLÃO and the racially insensitive message, noting the organization has a zero-tolerance approach toward all kinds of discrimination and the player’s contract has been terminated.

“At the conclusion of our TI11 match versus BOOM Esports, there was a racist message visible in-game from Rodrigo “LESLÃO” Santos,” Soniqs said.

“We hold our players to a high standard of professionalism and have a zero-tolerance policy towards racism or discrimination of any kind. Effective immediately, we have released LESLÃO from his contract at Soniqs.”


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