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American University players Casey Chambers, Corwin Dark, and TJammer, held up a sign reading, "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizzard" during a livestream on the official Hearthstone Twitch channel.
Although Blizzard has removed the incident from its Twitch archive, others posted the video to Twitter and Youtube (below). It shows the sign briefly before the camera cuts away. Post-match interviews for the event that evening were also reportedly canceled because of it.
The trio expected to get punished just as Chung had. However, they were instead booked into their next scheduled match. Appalled at Blizzard's apparent double standard, the players announced today that they were forfeiting their upcoming match and are quitting Blizzard tournament play.
"We feel it's hypocritical for Blizzard to punish Blitzchung but not us," the team explained to USgamer. "The response from Blizzard shows that as soon as the messaging is out of the view of China, they don't care about 'political' messaging."
The AU team said they had debated different ways to express their feelings, but decided that a sign would be best. "It would force Blizzard to cut the camera or spread our message."
The college players' stance is not singular. Blizzard has been getting heat in the forums, and some of its employees staged a walkout over Blitzchung's ousting. There is even a BoycottBlizzard hashtag trending on Twitter.
With BlizzCon coming up on November 1, it will be interesting to see if any attendees raise a ruckus at the event.
Image credit: Eyesonmilan via Shutterstock