DQ’d from GP Vegas, here’s my statement
Today in GP Vegas I got DQ’d for an interaction with a judge.
I was walking across the player area to the pairings board, and the judge (Eric Kubo) stopped me and told me to walk the long way around. I said “come on, I’ll just be by really quickly”, and attempted to walk past him between the tables. He didn’t move and I bumped into him.
It was then that he stopped me and said something along the lines of why did you push me. Realizing my mistake, I said I’m sorry, I’ll go the other way. When I was turning away he stopped me and further questioned me saying “who in what world would push someone like that?”. I said “Once again I said I’m sorry, but it already happened and I can’t take it back. What would you like me to say?”. Then he told me to stay right there (being in between the tables), and went to grab another judge.
At this point, him and another judge was talking to me more about the issue. I explained what happened and the other judge issued me a warning for unsportmanshiplike conduct.
I think it’s relevant to point out here that during the talk, 3 seperate players walked up and wanted to help me out by explaining what they saw to the judge. I didn’t want them to get in trouble so I told them that it’s fine.
Finally, I asked for his name, since he was not wearing a name tag, cause I wanted to check later about this incident. However, apparently asking for the name caused the other judge to tell me that that would be escalating the issue. I told him that he wasn’t wearing a name tag so that’s why I asked. It honestly felt quite threatening when the other judge considered that as a means for an escalation.
I asked if I can leave afterwards, to which the other judge said OK. I went to play Round 15 while they talked with the other observers of that incident.
After playing that round, I was approached by the head judge and Mashi. They were asking me about the incident, and I felt a bit emotional so we talked behind the stage. Then, I explained the previous incident while responding to their questions.
The head judge then DQ’d me for aggressive behavior, explaining that physical contact by definition is considered to be aggressive. I was actually kinda baffled by the situation, but I just wanted out of the problem so I just said OK to everything.
Looking back I should have stood my ground more. While I did make a mistake in trying to walk past the judge, I made an apology to him immediately after. He believed that there was still a problem and I, being super frank, said “I said I’m sorry and it already happened, what do you want me to say?”.
Even though he might have took offense to that, it was not an offensive statement. I’m a person who looks to solve problems than to circle around the conversation, arguing about and achieving nothing.
From my end, I felt that the judge was using his position to get me into this sitaution. I didn’t know what to say except for apologize. Maybe he thought that I didn’t show remorse, but different people show remorse in different ways.
I really don’t feel like this interaction resulting in me getting a DQ is right at all. I thought that judges are supposed to be reasonable and helpful, and now after this event I outright fear them. The fact that 3 different people came to the judges to defend me can’t be a coincidence.
I was walking pass the play area since I saw many people do it. This also happened after losing my match out of Top 8 in the event already, so I was already in a defeated mental state.
I really think that the situation could have stopped after the apology. I also think that linking physical contact to aggressive behavior is a reach. I’m so scared of accidentally touching a judge now after this incident.
What it boiled down to was that the judge did not accept my apology, and I did not know how to resolve the situation correctly after that. I still think that the act of asking for that judge’s name being the cause for the escalation is crazy.
I’m going to remember GP Vegas as a fun event, where I nearly Top 8’d, and one where I got to hang out with friends. Hung out with new ones as well as meeting those who came up and said hi. I’m going to be happy about the weekend. This isn’t me not showing remorse, it’s that this judge has already taken away so much of an otherwise fun experience, that I refuse to let it affect me anymore. If that’s what gets me into trouble, then I can’t say I’m proud to be a Magic player in these live events.