Envy Gaming leadership is taking action after Dallas Fuel player Lee “Fearless” Eui-Seok spoke out this week about racism he and his Korean teammates say they have faced in Dallas.
Mike Rufail, the organization’s founder and Chief Gaming Officer, said Envy is looking to ramp up security and asked others to battle racism when they see it.
I am deeply saddened by the situations some of our @DallasFuel players have been put in while walking the streets here in Dallas, TX. This is a great city in a proud state. This isn’t something we should be proud of at all and should all pitch in to change it. pic.twitter.com/Sq7MGlco50
— Mike Rufail (@hastr0) April 6, 2021
Rufail doesn’t often make political statements. He said it himself in the five-minute video he posted Tuesday, saying he typically sticks to gaming and esports. But this was something he had to acknowledge after Lee’s Sunday clip, which was later translated from Korean to English, discussed the hatred the Fuel were receiving “basically every day.”
“Being Asian here is terrifying,” said Lee, as translated by Florida Mayhem manager Jade “swingclip” Kim. “Seriously. People keep trying to pick fights with us.”
i dont know if i’m “stepping out of line” for translating something about what another team’s player is experiencing
but here’s the full translation of that Fearless clip.
please see some of what OWL players and staff are facing as Asians in America. pic.twitter.com/LZWvnRkuAx
— swingchip (@swingchip930) April 6, 2021
Reports of hate crimes against Asians in the United States have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic, per The New York Times, and on March 16, there were eight people killed in Atlanta-area spas, six of whom were Asian.
Rufail wished Envy leadership knew about the incidents with Lee and the Fuel earlier so they could possibly pursue action, but was pleased with Lee’s response in his video.
“I wish he would’ve told us as soon as it happened, so maybe there were things we could do to find out who those people were and maybe there are things we could have done sooner,” Rufail said. “But at the same time I told Fearless he could always speak his mind and he could always be open publicly about his experiences.”
Rufail acknowledged that he and Envy can’t control what other people do, but are still looking at ways to ramp up security. Envy CEO Adam Rymer said on Twitter that the organization is working through options.
“We have discussed adding security, personal security. We’ve already discussed with security in our building, who will, when they are able to, will try to make sure the players are safe when they are outside and around the building,” Rufail said. “I think this will evolve a bit as we go along. We are still in the process of discussing what we can do to make them feel safe.”
We are working with players and TeamOps to figure out best options.
— Adam Rymer | ENVY (@Envy_Rymer) April 5, 2021
In the translations of Lee’s discussion, he mentioned that this was happening to him and his teammates daily, and the lack of mask-wearing was concerning to them. People would even cough at them and shout racial slurs.
Being part of the Dallas Fuel has helped Lee and his seven Korean teammates and three Korean coaches.
“That’s why sometimes I wear my jersey around on purpose,” Lee said. “If I have my jersey on, I think they realize we’re part of some kind of team, so they don’t bother us as much. But if I have my everyday clothes on, they run up to us, harass us, then run away.”
Rufail said the Fuel players were doing all right, and that Fearless himself was “caught off guard” by the response and concern from Envy. Right now, his team is focused on its Overwatch League season debut against the Houston Outlaws on April 16.
Rufail, who said he’s experienced racist remarks in esports himself during his multi-decade career that began as a player, wants his players to feel safe.