Electronic Arts continues to deal with the fallout of the mass shooting at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville on Sunday, August 26. Professional esports competitors Taylor “Spotme” Robertson and Elijah “Trueboy” Clayton died as the results of gunshot wounds, and a 11 other people suffered injuries.
Now, after posting multiple statements as a company, EA chief executive Officer Andrew Wilson has posted a more detailed response that touches on his sympathies for the loved ones of the victims, the future of Madden competitions, and plans for more security at the company’s events.
“We are committed to supporting Taylor and Elijah’s families through this difficult time,” reads Wilson’s message. “And we send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, to those injured yesterday, and everyone affected.”
The CEO also wrote that EA has worked with its partners to cancel the three remaining Madden Classic tournaments of the qualifying rounds. It is going to look at security and safety policies to see what it can do to protect people in the future.
Here is Wilson’s full statement:
I wanted to share some thoughts about the horrific and senseless act of violence that occurred in Jacksonville at the Madden competitive gaming event. I know many of us, myself included, are filled with shock and grief. Our teams have been working non-stop to do what we can to respond to this terrible situation.
First and foremost, it is an unthinkable tragedy that Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, two of our top Madden competitors, lost their lives in this way. They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community. Their love of competition was evident through their participation in our events over the past few years. We are committed to supporting Taylor and Elijah’s families through this difficult time, and we send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, to those injured yesterday, and everyone affected.
The event was a qualifying tournament for the Madden Classic, our first Madden EA Major competition of this season. While these qualifying events are operated independently by partners, we work with them to ensure competitive integrity and to gather feedback from players. We have made a decision to cancel our three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.
We’ve all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville. This is the first time we’ve had to confront something like this as an organization, and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature. Please take time to support each other through this challenging time.
It’s worth noting that EA and Wilson have taken the lead on responding to this while the National Football League has only provided a single brief statement:
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy today in Jacksonville. Our hearts go out to all those affected. We are grateful for the first responders immediately at the scene. We support our partners at EA Sports and will continue to monitor developments with local law enforcement.”
While this was an official Madden Championship Series qualifier, EA was not involved with organizing the event. As Wilson explained, it was “operated independently by its partners.” The NFL is one of those partners. I’ve reached out to the league office to ask it has any further comments. I’ll update this post with any new information.