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T1 released a video statement on April 9, addressing the VALORANT team’s new assistant coach’s, Dakota “Stunner” MacLeod, ban for cheating in PUBG. The organization announced the new signing yesterday as the 25 year-old has worked with the team for a few months. The original announcement video, with MacLeod and head coach David Denis, detailed the coach’s journey from PUBG, to Apex Legends and eventually VALORANT without mention of his previous ban. In the statement from PUBG Esports, Exko, his in-game name at the time, was served a one-year ban for owning two accounts that were banned for the use of an “unauthorized program.”
— T1 (@T1) April 9, 2021
The ban was from December 2018 to 2019. During that time MacLeod was barred from all PUBG competitive events. He admitted to using cheats on the accounts to the investigation team. No evidence of him cheating in the 2018 PGI Qualifiers or LAN events was found in the investigation.
Competitive Ruling: Dakota “Exko” MacLeod pic.twitter.com/oEqM4RxC9i
— PUBG Esports (@PUBGEsports) December 7, 2018
The announcement from T1 came on the heels of community outrage as former PUBG-turned-VALORANT players remembered MacLeod. Magno “Pr0phie” Ramos, formerly of Spacestation Gaming, went to Twitter after the announcement: “Doing my job as 1 of the PUBG players in VALORANT to spread awareness that @T1 picked-up a new assistant coach @StunnerFPS the same guy that PUBG investigated and concluded was in fact cheating has now change[d] his name from Exko to StunnerFPS 😀 thought yall should know.”
Doing my job as 1 of the PUBG players in Valorant to spread awareness that @T1 picked-up a new assistant coach @StunnerFPS the same guy that PUBG investigated and concluded was in fact cheating has now change his name from Exko to StunnerFPS 😀 thought yall should know. pic.twitter.com/GpHF9XzoRC
— Pr0phie (@pr0phie) April 8, 2021
T1 assistant coach speaks about ban
In the second video, MacLeod addresses the ban and how it has impacted his career. Dennis explained that the organization wants to be transparent about the issue and believes in second chances.
“In my career in esports so far I have worked with a lot of different players with these kinds of incidents in their past that have worked through the adversity and the challenge of that and change who they are as people,” Dennis said in the video.
Macleod explains in the video that his accounts and cheats were prior to his professional career. He said that after PUBG he moved on to Forntnite and then Apex Legends as a player. As an Apex competitor, he played on amateur and unsigned teams because of his past ban. He claims that his teammates knew of his past while competing.
“They talked it over and decided to let me to continue to play in the online league as long as I streamed with a hand cam on at all times,” MacLeod said.
He was invited to the Apex Legends Preseason Invitational in 2019. His team name was Quasar Generation Red. MacLeod also noted several opportunities that were offered but rescinded because of his past ban.
“It is my biggest life regret because it did jeopardize one of the only things I want to do in life which is continue my passion for esports,” MacLeod said.
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.