During a match at a PTQ, Amy and Nolan are playing toward the end of the round. During game three, Amy has no cards in hand and her first draw for the turn is a Bonfire of the Damned that she is able to cast through its miracle cost for lethal damage. Nolan puts his hand down in disgust and says, “Well that’s gay.” Amy gives Nolan a dirty look and says, “Yeah, well you’re gay.” A spectator pauses the match and calls a judge. What’s the most appropriate infraction, penalty, and any additional fix?
Judges, feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!Answer
Amy will receive USC-Major for directing an insult based on sexual preference toward her opponent. This is a match loss, and thus ends the match immediately and Nolan is the winner. Nolan will receive USC-Minor, for his comment which could impact the comfort level of others at the event. Amy will be given a chance to apologize to Nolan and if she shows remorse then may continue playing in the event. The infraction applies to the current round, the match still in progress.
There are a few things of note here. Amy has escalated the situation to a personal attack and that is not OK. Nolan has most likely made his remark out of ignorance and while that is not acceptable language, it is not a direct attack and should not be penalized as such.
There have been a few remarks about intent and jokes. Remember that the comfort level of others is as important as the comfort of the participants in the match. While Amy and Nolan may be having fun it can not be at the expense of those around them. Customers, judges, store employees, other participants, the list goes on, all need to be made as comfortable as the people actually playing in the tournament.
Great work to Talin for a quick and accurate diagnosis of the situation! In addition Elliot provided fantastic reasoning and details to support Talin’s work. Also a quick shout out to Devin Smith for the assist. Often we forget (most of the KP members are either native speakers, or are very comfortable with English), and this use of “gay” as a pejorative slipped by us. I look forward to the added level of detail this gives us (we love to improve for you!)
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t add a thank you to Riki Hayashi. Riki’s poignant and reasoned explanation of why this language, and language like it is unreasonable and unacceptable can be found here: http://apps.magicjudges.org/forum/topic/11401/?page=3#post-72617