Carlo “Kuku” Palad has taken a personal leave from TNC Predator after being banned from attending the Chongqing Major by Valve. The team has called up Ryo “ryOyr” Hasegawa to be his stand-in.
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, TNC assured the community that Kuku is still a part of their roster. It appears that he has already taken his leave as TNC has been playing in the ESL One Katowice 2019 SEA Qualifier with ryOyr standing in for Kuku.
The ban was imposed by Valve after Kuku used racist language aimed against Chinese players during a pub match and TNC attempted to cover up the incident. This followed an earlier incident when another Filipino player, Andrei “skem” Ong formerly of compLexity Gaming, also made a derogatory statement against an opposing Chinese team during a live match in the DreamHack DreamLeague Season 10 tournament back in November. While earlier reports said that Kuku and skem were banned by Chinese officials, Valve said otherwise and imposed the ban on Kuku themselves.
TNC had been told by Valve to compete in the Chongqing Major with a stand-in instead of Kuku after the tournament organizers said they “could not guarantee the safety” of Kuku should he attend.
This followed attempts by TNC to rectify the situation by imposing fines on Kuku and the team’s manager, who was the one who attempted to cover up the incident, and having them make a donation to an anti-racism organization.
However, Valve was not pleased by the actions of the team and became the ones to officially issue the ban on Kuku. Moreover, they also imposed a 20% penalty on TNC’s current total Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points.
The issue now seems to be dying down with the official implementation of the ban from Valve. Kuku would do well to stay away from the spotlight for now as he takes his personal leave.