Riot suspends Valorant pro six months for failing to cooperate in sexual assault investigation
Professional Valorant player Jay “Sinatraa” Won has been suspended for six months by Riot Games for “failing to fully cooperate” with an ongoing investigation into an allegation of sexual assault. The investigation stems from an allegation dating back to March of this year, when Won was accused of sexual abuse by a former girlfriend, which was supported by recordings and screenshots of messages. At the time, Won was indefinitely suspended by both Riot, which develops Valorant and organizes most online competitions, and Sentinels, the team for which he plays.
According to Riot, this latest suspension is related to Won’s behavior during the investigation. In a statement, the company said:
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 began competing in Valorant last year but rose to prominence in the Overwatch League, where he was named MVP in 2019 — though OWL began offering refunds on his in-game MVP skin following the allegations in March.
Following Riot’s decision today, Won released a statement on Twitter saying that “I’ve spent the last two months reflecting on how I can be better as a person.” With regards to the investigation, he wrote:
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.
As for the initial allegation of sexual assault, Riot said that because the matter has been referred to law enforcement, “at this juncture we will defer to the authorities to make further investigation into and factual findings related to the allegations.” Riot added that “to the extent that additional material information comes to light, from law enforcement or otherwise, the competitive operations team reserves the right to reopen the investigation and take further appropriate action.”
Update May 17th, 4:40PM ET: Article updated with a statement from Won.