On Tuesday, New York Subliners player James “Clayster” Eubanks took to Twitter to announce he had tested positive for COVID-19 following the Call of Duty League Kickoff Classic. This led to multiple players speaking out against how the league handled COVID-19 restrictions and testing at the event. Today, the league responded to the players with an official statement.
There were reports of talent fraternizing with fans without a mask and then going backstage with the players, as well as staff not wearing a mask in general at the event. However, it seems players were most frustrated with fans not wearing a mask throughout the crowd, even though they were required to wear one at all times.
CDL issues a response to the players after CDL Kickoff Classic
— Call of Duty League (@CODLeague) January 26, 2022
The league’s twitter post started off by saying, “We’re sad to hear that some of our players tested positive following the Kickoff Classic. The safety and wellbeing of our players and staff is extremely important to us.” This was followed up by the league listing which precautions were supposed to be in place for fans and teams.
“Upon arrival, all staff and players were also required to test and produce a negative test prior to entering the venue,” the CDL wrote. “Also, in line with our policy last season, the Kickoff Classic had a mask mandate within the venue and staff and signage to remind our fans of this requirement. Lastly, we offered re-testing to all teams on Day 3.”
While there was indeed a mask mandate to enter the arena, it’s apparent the mandate wasn’t followed or heavily enforced. Multiple camera shots taken of the crowd during matches show dozens of fans not wearing a mask at all. Also, according to Upcomer staff inside the venue, there was only one reminder to wear a mask all weekend. This occurred on Sunday and popped up on the large screen above the main stage. Clayster and other pros also stated that staff was commonly seen with masks at their chin.
While the CDL states “there is an inherent risk at live events now,” it appears league staff didn’t do enough at the Kickoff Classic to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It remains to be seen whether or not rules will change at the next LAN event. This so happens to be at the Esports Arena in Arlington, Texas; the same venue as the Kickoff Classic.