"A player takes action towards one or more individuals that could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, threatened, bullied, or stalked. This may include insults based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. Threats of physical violence should be treated as Unsporting Conduct – Aggressive Behavior.
It is possible for an offender to commit this infraction without intending malice or harm to the subject of the harassment.
A couple things should jump out at the careful reader here:
1. We’re looking at the cause, not the effect. “Did someone feel uncomfortable?” is not an effective way to determine whether this infraction applies. Though many instances of Unsporting Conduct – Major will start with a complaint from a player, we don’t rely solely on a victim taking the sometimes extraordinary effort to speak up. When we see something awkward or suspicious, we need to act.
2. You can commit this infraction without intending to harm someone. My guess is that many times when this comes up, the person committing it won’t actually understand how they’ve created a toxic environment or why they’ve caused someone else harm. Our position and our remedy allow us to educate here, but the damage is done and the infraction should stand."
Woah, this is a match loss now?
That's right, changes to the "Unsporting Conduct - Major" policy went into effect at the same time as the B&R "no changes" announcement. I was unsure of the implications of this change, so I waited for a judge to comment.
Comment one did! Sean Catanese wrote this blog post outlining some of the implications. This is more for judges than for players, but it's important to know what they're cracking down on. I don't expect more than 1 or 2 of our readers will use slurs or threatening language and we all know who those people are, but it's still worthwhile to understand the new policy. Keep it sporting out there, folks, and let's help the judge community enforce these new rules.