Riot Games Suspends Jay 'Sinatraa' Won Following Sexual Assault Allegations
The professional world of VALORANT has been rocked today, as Jay "Sinatraa" Won has been suspended for six months. While Won made his name in the Overwatch League, he started playing for VALORANT at a professional level in 2020. When allegations of sexual misconduct emerged in March, OWL offered refunds on Sinatraa's in-game skin.
After claims of sexual assault first came to light, Riot said the matter had been referred to law enforcement, and it would conduct its own investigation. Won was warned that Riot reserved the right to "reopen the investigation and take further appropriate action". Alex Francois, the Head of Competitive Operations for Valorant Esports, has announced the update, which involves the six-month suspension of the pro player.
Why did Riot Games suspend Jay 'Sinatraa' Won?
Won was accused of sexually assaulting ex-girlfriend Cleo Hernandez, and speaking about where the Sinatraa situation is now, Riot released the following statement via Francois: "The competitive operations team had serious concerns with Sinatraa’s conduct during the course of the investigation. It was determined that on at least two occasions Sinatraa misrepresented certain facts, made false statements, and did not cooperate with the investigation in a way expected of a professional Valorant esports player,
"Of note, Sinatraa’s public commitment on social media to provide the full audio and video clip referenced in the original post was never fulfilled. Cooperation in these investigations is of the utmost importance, especially when the nature of the allegations is as serious as sexual assault. This behavior will not be tolerated by Valorant Esports".
Won was asked to submit audio and video files that had apparently been recorded with consent over the course of his relationship with Hernandez. Won had said he'd comply, but by the looks of it, he's failed to hand over the evidence. The player has claimed he doesn't own the files in question.
What's next after Riot Games suspends Jay 'Sinatraa' Won?
In response to Riot's statement, Sinatraa took to Twitter to discuss the decision. Saying he's used the past few months to reflect on how he can be a better person, Won added, "I want to preface this by saying I do not have the video / audio that she used in her statement. After our relationship ended she had asked me to delete the video and I honored that. I’ve never even imagined a situation like this so when it all happened I didn’t know whether to just spill out my side or not. I had no clue what to do so I seeked [sic] legal help immediately.
"As we were drafting up an update with the legal PR team we had added that I would provide the video because we genuinely thought that the video would have to be shared in full since it’s a key part in the investigation. However that did not happen and I should not have promised something I could not personally deliver. This entire experience has been humbling and an opportunity for me to come out the other side a better person".
At the time of writing, Won should be able to return to competitive Riot play on September 10 - meaning he'll be eligible for the Last Chance Qualifiers and Champions tournaments. Still, Riot has reiterated he'll have to "complete professional conduct training prior to being able to return to play".
Images via NBC | Riot Games