EA cancels last 3 'Madden' qualifier tournaments
Electronic Arts has canceled the final three qualifier events for its “Madden NFL 19” esports tournament after Sunday’s shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, in which two competitors were killed.
CEO Andrew Wilson cited “a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators” in a statement announcing the cancellations.
“We’ve all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville,” Wilson said Monday night in the news release. “This is the first time we’ve had to confront something like this as an organization, and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature. Please take time to support each other through this challenging time.”
Wilson pledged to “work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.”
In the statement, Wilson called the two men who were fatally shot — Taylor “SpotmePlzzz” Robertson, 28, and Elijah “Trueboy” Clayton, 22 — “two of our top Madden competitors.”
“They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community,” Wilson said in the statement. “Their love of competition was evident through their participation in our events over the past few years. We are committed to supporting Taylor and Elijah’s families through this difficult time, and we send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, to those injured yesterday, and everyone affected.”
Clayton was engaged in a game in the tournament when shots were fired and caught in a video that has gone viral. His family spoke to reporters earlier Monday.
“As you can imagine, we are devastated by yet another senseless act of gun violence,” Clayton’s cousin, Brandi Pettijohn, said while reading a statement. “Every person who has stood in this position has said that they never thought this would happen to their family, and we are no different.
“My cousin has to bury her first-born, and it is just as terrible as that sounds. Our family has been forever changed. Nothing will replace the love that we have for Elijah. There is a hole that will never be filled.”
Court records obtained by The Associated Press show that David Katz, the man accused of killing Robertson, Clayton and then himself, had been hospitalized for mental illness.
Divorce filings from the parents of the 24-year-old say that as a teenager he was twice hospitalized in psychiatric facilities and that he was prescribed antipsychotic and antidepressant medications.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams has declined to comment on why Katz opened fire inside a gaming bar connected to a pizzeria at The Jacksonville Landing, a collection of restaurants and shops along the St. Johns River. Williams said he used at least one handgun in the attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.