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Second Hearthstone caster quits following Hong Kong player’s ban

Nathan ‘Admirable’ Zamora says he was inspired by Ng ‘blitzchung’ Ng Wai’s courage

Nathan “Admirable” Zamora on the right behind the Hearthstone esports casting desk Blizzard Entertainment
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

A second Hearthstone caster, Nathan “Admirable” Zamora, will not appear on the Hearthstone Grandmasters broadcast for the remainder of the season, he said in a statement released on Twitter. Zamora will not participate in the Masters Tour in Bucharest or at BlizzCon 2019 in Anaheim, California, he wrote.

“Blitzchung’s actions to support Hong Kong speak to me far more than I could have imagined,” he wrote. “It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, and to make sacrifices in the process. His actions are inspiring to me, and I support him wholeheartedly.”

He continued:

In Hearthstone, good strategic play involves making the right choice, even if that choice will sometimes cost you. You think about the range of possibilities from the other side. With the hand you’re dealt, you make the best choice you can, even if the foreseeable outcomes hurt. That doesn’t mean you should make worse decisions — it means do the right thing, even if you pay the price.

Zamora is a longtime member of the Hearthstone community — first as a player and now as a tournament commentator for the North American Hearthstone Grandmasters broadcast.

He referenced Hearthstone caster Brian Kibler’s statement on Blizzard’s “incredibly harsh” punishment for Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung’s on-stream protest in support of Hong Kong. Kibler noted that “not everyone involved in [Grandmasters] has this luxury [to quit in protest,” and asked fans not to take their anger out on players and casters who remain part of the broadcast. “Most likely they’re just as angry as you are,” Kibler wrote.

Two other Hearthstone broadcasters, Simon Welch and Alex Baguley, have issued statements regarding blitzchung’s ban. Both said they disagree with Blizzard’s decision to ban blitzchung, but will fulfill their contracts with the Hearthstone esports team.

Blizzard suspended blitzchung from the Grandmasters event, revoked his tournament winnings, and banned him from Hearthstone esports for a year after the Hong Kong–based player appeared on stream wearing a gas mask. During his post-game interview on Oct. 6, blitzchung shouted “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,” a slogan associated with the protests.

Blizzard said blitzchung’s statement violated tournament rules.

Following blitzchung’s ban, three American University students held up a “Free Hong Kong, boycott Blizz” sign after their broadcasted Hearthstone Collegiate Championship match. Blizzard declined to comment on the act — but the players told Polygon yesterday they have not yet been punished and will forfeit the remainder of the collegiate tournament’s season.

Blizzard has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment. On Oct. 9, a Blizzard representative told Engadget it was was “assessing” the situation. Backlash from blitzchung’s ban has only grown in the days following — players have called for a boycott of Blizzard products, and Chinese Overwatch hero Mei has become a symbol of the protests that are ongoing in Hong Kong.

Correction: We’ve updated this story with the correct order of blitzchung’s name.

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