Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez (also known as FChamp) has been banned from all Capcom fighting game tournaments globally, after he made a joke about “Watermelon Lives Matter.”
In a now deleted post on June 13th, Ramirez tweeted “Check this out lol #WatermelonLivesMatter ;)” along with a picture of a watermelon. This was at a time where Black Lives Matter was prominently featured in the news, due to their actions after the death and aftermath of George Floyd.
“Very insensitive tweet by me
I didnt mean any harm from it
but i promise ill be better
sorry to everyone :(“
Later, fighting game tournament East Coast Throwdown announced that “From this moment on [Ramirez] is no longer welcome to East Coast Throwdown.”
Fighting game commentator and esports lawyer David “UltraDavid” Philip Graham seemingly took glee with this, tweeting “good work friends.” Ramirez took extreme displeasure at this, and even more so when Graham tweeted back “please do better ryan, it’s long been time for all of us to do so.”
“Stop double dipping on shit
and please be consistent dont throw me under the bus when the other guy u defended did way worse than me
I made a terrible joke at a terrible time
and i take full responsibility from it
Ill do better for sure but i aint tolerating 2 faced MFS”
Ramirez seems to be referencing an incident where fighting game player Christina “CeroBlast” Tran was banned from all Evolution fighting game tournaments (EVO), after a video emerged where she was reportedly liberally using the N-word.
This was after an argument with Dalauan “LowTierGod” Sparrow. After an exhibition match of Street Fighter V, Sparrow had reportedly made transphobic comments. He was also banned from EVO and other fighting game tournaments.
Graham had tweeted in April that while Sparrow’s ban was justified, Tran’s punishment was more complicated.
“Cero’s use of slurs is a problem ofc. But if banning her is meant to imply that her behavior is on par with LTG’s near decade of bigotry & bullying and not as bad as things like abusing a spouse & trying to sue FGC people who discussed it, then imo that’s a problem as well”
Also, anyone who’s searched people’s histories for bad things in support if someone who regularly says worse things is being so disingenuous that they’re not worth responding to imo. Using slurs is wrong, and if you agree, then don’t support people who do it”
[…] “Some friends have expressed frustration that their legitimate gripe about racism has been obscured by/in LTG’s assery, which obv they don’t support either. I don’t want to contribute to that, so comparisons aside, using slurs is a problem & I support punishing Cero for doing it”
On June 17th, Capcom formally announced that Ramirez had been banned from all Capcom-owned and operated fighting game tournaments around the world.
“Ryan ‘FChamp’ Ramirez is hereby banned indefinitely from all Capcom-owned and/or operated events including Capcom Pro Tour and Street Fighter League for violating the player code of conduct.
This is a global ban, meaning it applies to tournaments and events in all locations throughout the world.”
That same day, Ramirez addressed the ban on Twitch.
“I understand what I did was messed up, it was very insensitive I guess, but I felt that I would not accept to being called a racist. Never gonna accept that part.
“Definitely what I did was not right,” Ramirez said. “I’m not going to deny that. There will be no denial of anything of what I did was right. Right or wrong, sorry. I don’t think what I did was racist at all. I really believe that.”
While Ramirez stated he could “sue some mother*******” over the accusations, and felt some would use Twitch’s clip feature to take his comments out of context, he stated there would be no denial what he did was wrong.
Ramirez also stated his tweet was insensitive, and he condemned racism, but still felt it was not racist. However, he also felt his ban (and calls for him to be banned) was for individuals to promote their own tournaments, or virtue signal.
“I don’t think what I did was racist at all, I really believe that. It was very insensitive. I do not want to ever be labeled as a racist. I didn’t even know what racism was all about, 10 or 12 years ago. I had to get educated by Hiro and CJ about these things. My closest friends- I cannot use the excuse ‘oh I got black friends, this and that’- but I cannot be called racist at all. That’s just too much.
I know what I was so insensitive, but I don’t think that makes me a racist. I think that’s just so black and white to people. It was very insensitive, stupid, and it was such a terrible joke for the time.
I support Black Lives Matter all the way through, and I want everyone to be treated equally in our society, and in justice to, with what they’re fighting for. But I don’t think that what I did was that bad, in a way that the people are comparing me to to what the other guys that are banned- I don’t wanna name those guys- but the guys that are currently banned did.
OK, let’s just say what Mike Z did, is he banned? How come he’s not banned? How ’bout the other guys? How about every single person that is threatening me? Trying to say ‘oh if they see me they’re gonna f*** me up.’ Or something like that. I got their names. Oh so they’re OK to go to tournaments in general?
This is not an excuse, I admit to what I did, and I take full responsibility for it- and I did not want them to change their decision. The first decision just said ‘I’m banned:’ Make me banned.
I know what they’re doing. The public is doing [sic] is making an example out of me, and also it’s creating a lot of press for them to promote their tournaments, and also to promote that they’re awareness about actually caring for the current movement that is happening in the United States, which is the Black Lives Matter, and I understand that, and I gave them this opportunity to use me in this sense- but I also made a lot of mistakes about this. [I] picked the wrong time, I’m not even gonna make other excuses.”
Ramirez explained further how the tweet came about. After one of his room mates, Ramirez was surprised how large a watermelon one of them had bought.
Due to him being an “islander” and how such a large watermelon would be desirable in the Philippines, he jokingly said “watermelon lives matter.” Ramierez claims his roommates (in a household with seven black people) all found it hilarious.
Ramierez felt it was OK to share that joke at large, not realizing that those online may not know Ramirez as well as his roommates. This was compounded by it allegedly being posted late at night.
Ramierez also said he was treated harshly after his “mistake,” and that his ban was too much, especially for what he said “in the luxury of my home” and decided to “share it to the public.”
He also claims that Capcom did not speak to Ramierez before they made their decision. Even so, Ramierez states he had stopped competing after 2018 (with the exception of an invitational tournament), and so the ban would not affect his life. He stated some of the tournaments he had been banned from he had not attended for 5 years.
Ramierez stated he accepted his ban, but he wanted to know how long it would be for, and for it to be “fair.” This meant others who had similar controversies and “did way worse,” or harassed others should also be banned.