Thursday, July 2, 2015

What to do about Zach Jesse, with a little (a lot of) help from my friends

I want to share a couple of my friends’ reactions to the Zach Jesse suspension below after some brief thoughts of my own.

It is deeply troubling that Wizards (and Hasbro to the extent they are driving) is acting this way.  To those claiming this is protection of their legal liability rather than their public image – not in any defensible way it is.  All the information shared about Zach Jesse on social media was part of the public record.  If letting a sex offender in the door created liability at events, they’d ask everyone on a form to confirm they were not a sex offender.  Actual knowledge and constructive knowledge of a 10+ year old crime are nearly the same thing – what they are is not enough to amount to actionable negligence should an incident arise in the future.  If their legal team is behind this, the policy is just as bad, and the reasoning just as wrong. 

More likely than this being an attempt to limit legal liability, this is an attempt to control public image. 

The way they chose to do this was just as frustrating, if not more, than what was done.  No announcement, no explanation (and here their legal team may have said “sure, you can ban him, try not to comment” but if they stuck to statements of true fact they could have made a statement).  A frozen MTGO account.  A call to Zach Jesse from a lawyer with the non-negotiable terms of his removal.  Talk about a sloppy broom used to sweep this under the rug.  Of course this got out and went viral. 

They acted without articulating a policy, but I don’t want them to articulate a policy for these things and then proceed under that policy to sweep up the next Zach Jesse and the one after that.  I want them to back away from this and reinstate Zach Jesse.  I’ve never net Zach Jesse in my life.  But I know that if I only advocate for the most well-known, the most respected members of our community, I’ll just be rubber stamping the “in crowd” vs. “out crowd” dynamics already in play.

To those who think this action that Wizards/Hasbro took is justified for reasons other than their own public relations, as yourselves, “Who does this action serve?”  Perpetrators?  Victims?  If not either, is WotC helping itself not both despicable and short-sighted?

I’d like to share two very important perspectives from within my circle of friends, and from within our community.  Thanks to both for giving me permission to share!  First, on the victim impact, Magic player and Magic judge Tasha Jamison
“I find this really troubling.
 I've been following this story as it unfolded, so here's the short version as I understand it:
Zach Jesse made top 8 at Grand Prix Atlantic City, during which it was noted on Twitter (by Drew Levin) that he was convicted of felony sexual assault. He served his time and was complying with all legal requirements of his conviction. According to his own post on reddit, he commits a significant amount of time to volunteer organizations and community service. (He quantified it, I'm summarizing.)
 The rhetoric around the ban is that this serves to make Magic environments a safer place for all participants. Likewise, rhetoric leading up to the ban questioned whether his mere presence created an unsafe or hostile environment.
 There's a lot swirling around here about criminal justice, rehabilitation and risk of recidivism, and restorative justice that's beyond my depth. The thing is...
 As a woman, as someone who has experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, one of the ideas that has held me back from reporting is the idea that "reporting would ruin [the accused]'s life." This makes me sick to the stomach because it reinforces that idea: here is a person who has served his time, who has complied with all requirements, who appears to me to be genuinely remorseful and committed to public service...
 ... and he gets what is effectively a lifetime ban from the competitive Magic community when his prior conviction came to public attention due to his strong performance.
 Since he has a conviction, I hesitate to bring in the rhetoric of "false rape claims," but it's going to hover around anyway. It seems to me that this ban *is* something that gives credibility to the idea that women have the power to ruin men's lives through false rape claims, which reduces the credibility of anyone who accuses someone of sexual assault (even when the evidence is sufficient to satisfy a court of law), which in turn reduces the willingness of a victim to pursue any sort of formal action.
What strikes me as especially troubling about the rhetoric that this is about "safety" is that it seems to be implying that this is somehow pro-"women in Magic" (or is a result of efforts to make tournament spaces less toxic to women in Magic). I don't see any outcome where this makes Magic tournaments more inviting to women, and a whole lot of outcomes where Magic tournaments become more *toxic* for women.”
 The part of Tasha’s post that really struck me the most was the discussion of one of the reasons rape is underreported, and how this feeds right into it.

Next, my friend Noah Weil, a practicing criminal defense attorney on the perpetrator impact.
“As a criminal defense attorney, especially when I was a public defender, I have worked regularly with people whose criminal histories have marginalized them. Many of these individuals, unfortunately, fall back into crime through frustration and a lack of opportunity to meaningfully participate in the community. While they are responsible for their choices, society suffers when its members are pushed to the fringes. We lose diversity and we increase recidivism.
 Mr. Jesse pleaded guilty to felonious sexual assault in 2004. This was apparently a plea deal approved in part by the victim of the crime (this is common). Mr. Jesse will be a felon for life. I’m sure he could share many stories on how his criminal history has affected his life.
 Are we defined by the worst choice we ever made, or are we allowed to see what we’ve done with our lives since then? Mr. Jesse’s crime should be condemned, his actions reviled. But can we also celebrate his successes? In my work, those successes are all too rare. In my work, I treasure them.
 I am concerned a contingent of players think that certain individuals should be shunned forever based on their past actions. These players feel any punishment is too light. People are allowed to feel whatever they like, but there’s a reason we want sentences handed down by an impartial judiciary. Mob rule is a poor way to run a community.

I fear that WoTC’s capriciousness won’t change; feel free to make your financial decisions accordingly. But when you encounter someone who has done something heinous, and you certainly will, consider whether publicly calling for their head is best for you, your community, and the people affected by those actions.”
If after reading what Tasha and Noah shared, you’re inclined to say it doesn’t matter because someone other than the perpetrator and the victim should be considered here, make sure your concerns are as tangible as theirs, as real, and have as large in impact on our society before you say someone’s “safety” or discomfort from a by-all-accounts-reformed criminal should override the impacts outlined above. 


Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro, make this right and we will move on from this.  That is possible, but you have to allow for it.  That’s the lesson here.  

66 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Terrible post. Continues to bring up the completely irrelivent legal argument. Wotc is not a legal istitution. The fact he served his time IS MEANINGLESS. STOP BRINGINGIT UP WHEN IT HAS ZERO BEARING ON ANYTHING

      A toy company does not wqnt a convicted rapist playing in its promotional events. If you can wrap you pinhead around that, you are too dumb for words

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    2. But having a convicted felon in the hall of fame is ok?

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    3. WotC absolutely has the right to ban him, and I don't think anyone is questioning that. However, it'd be preferable if they had consistency in their banning practices. They banned him to protect their image, not because they were disgusted by his past actions.

      They could add a clause stating that they do not want any sex offenders playing in their tournaments (which they could enforce fully through a troublesome background check, or simply remove any player if it's brought to their attention that they were a sex offender).

      And to many people, it does matter that he served his time. It makes it clear that, especially with a sex crime, you can't just leave that past behind you. Not only that you'll continue to face restrictions, but that you don't even know when it will come back to haunt you. That's a rattling thought when you think about those individuals who do feel immense remorse and change their ways. Some people are comfortable with that, others aren't.

      Regardless, I feel that what's most bothersome is the lack of consistency, which shows that this is a publicity move and not an ethical move on the part of the company. Again, they have the right to address this however they want to--just like they had the right to let him continue to play--but that doesn't mean I think they handled it appropriately.

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    4. I'm inclined to say that if this is the hill you're willing to die on....well, bye.

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    5. actually WotC never once had any problem with ex con playing their game in fact it is promoted in jails and that seems to be the opposite of what WotC wants from this banning. They need to be consistent. Regardless, any person or company that is in favor of revenge justice and not rehabilitation justice is not worth my time and has brain or compassion.

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  2. Matt, we don't often agree on a lot of subjects in the Magic community. However on this, we are absolutely lock step. It really says something when a champion for women like Tasha Jameison can't find the "right" in WotC/Hasbro's actions.

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  3. Judge who said "I'd hang him" not disciplined at all.

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    1. wait, what?

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    2. https://twitter.com/sheldonmenery/status/597814412234358784

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    3. It may be rather fair for the powers to be to cherry pick this situation/ban. This is a violent sex crime. Zach jesse faced a sentence our soicety has deemed fair and no strikes have been etched against him since the time of this crime, at his early/ignorant age. However, sexual assault is a violent crime. The victim hasnt been rewarded with the ability to complete societys sentence. She will unfortunately live with this trauma for the rest of her life. Considering this , its rather justifiable for wotc to remove zj from their community. After all, we are playing a childrens card game, 13 and up.

      -a victim of sexual assault

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    4. The victim received recourse through the conviction, unless you're saying that anyone convicted of any crime at all should be released entirely at the whim of the person they wronged. Acting in this way only increases the benefit and reduces the risk for anyone maliciously making accusations. We're playing a card game, no card involves dry-humping the other players. If you can't feel safe in a room with strangers, the problem /might/ not be with the fact someone who served their time was allowed to attend.

      -A victim of false rape accusations.

      (Guess what? While the police had 100% proof the accuser lied, they refused to prosecute based on public relations. And they outright told me this to my face. Yay equality.)

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    5. He was 19, he wasn't a kid, and he raped a virgin vaginally and anally, and got 3 months in prison. I'm glad WotC decided to actually punish him since our justice system didn't see fit to do it.

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    6. 2nd Anonymous: we actually don't know if Jesse's victim received "recourse" through his conviction. If so, she didn't receive the recourse she signed off on, which was an 8-year sentence, not three months in which he was allowed to leave during the day so he didn't miss his precious internship.

      Your statement is also ignorant of the impacts of sexual assault. Survivors aren't necessarily afraid he's going to rape them, but his presence could have huge impacts on them at events he attends, whether male and female. I'm guessing higher-ups at WotC more fully grasp the effects and nuances of rape than you and don't want a situation where even one person has a panic attack due to Jesse's presence.

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  4. Matt, pretend you were the decision maker on this issue at WotC. How do you handle it? Obviously the fear is seeing this player hoisting the trophy at the next Pro Tour and not the laughable liability concerns as you pointed out. Is there a resolution you find acceptable that avoids that PR disaster?

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    1. Probably because you've never made a mistake in your life and you don't understand the definition of "rehabilitate".

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    2. There's a big difference between a mistake that any normal person can make and committing aggravated sexual battery.

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    3. Lol, raping someone a mistake? Fuck that. I have no sympathy for a rapist.

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  5. He lives in my magic community and makes big efforts to help improve it and keep it strong, here's a petition link if you'd like to sign/share it... https://www.change.org/p/wizards-of-the-coast-allow-zachary-jesse-to-continue-playing-magic-the-gathering-in-dci-sanctioned-events?recruiter=334742687&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-google-no_msg&fb_ref=Default

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  6. It's sad that Zachary Jesse's decision to violently rape an unconscious woman is still haunting him today. The poor man spends his time while unemployed volunteering. When will society stop treating this rapist as a the violent sex offender that he is and more like a victim of cruel oppression!

    Your truly, an Anonymous Coward.

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  7. Thank you for such a refreshing explanation. Wizards of the Coast, Please lets move forward!

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  8. I don't see how a strong corporate or community response to news about someone's sexual assault conviction materially affects the credibility of any future rape accuser. There's only one group of people responsible for women being silenced in their rape accusations - misogynists who aren't inclined to believe anything women say about being sexually assaulted, and who resent them for saying it. Blaming supporters for "provoking" this Neanderthal behavior is just absurd and one step removed from blaming the victim.

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    1. @PVDDRs tweet: https://twitter.com/PVDDR/status/616692404565987332?s=09

      This is the peoblem. Wizards seems to act after the mob and not see to things on their own.

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  9. I think your article was well-written and I think it's a good jumping off point. One issue I do take with it is your piece written by Tasha. While she is a women that doesn't mean she is able to speak for all women. Most rapes and domestic violence cases go unreported NOT for the reason she states but rather because they have notoriously low conviction rates, they make the victim relive their abuses, and because it is stigmatized. It is NOT the case that most rape and domestic violence cases go unreported because the victims do not want to ruin the lives of their abusers. While this may be the case in her situation this is not the norm. People do not report them to "ruin peoples' lives". While I'm sure this has happened it is a negligible percent and should never be used to make a point. It is more likely and much more true that they do not report instances of abuse BECAUSE they are often accused as trying to ruin someones' lives.

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    1. I too take issue with Tasha being held up as THE speaker for sexual assault survivors. It strikes me that her not reporting assault due to how it will impact her abuser years down the road is the result of internalizing the words of the assailant, much like childhood sexual assault survivors internalize threats from their assailants, who might say that something bad will happen to that child if they "tell." However, I'm not her and she has to live with the consequences of her action/inaction and I hope she's doing what is best for her.

      A close reading of the article written after Jesse accepted the plea deal reveals that his lawyer blamed his victim for the incident since both she and he were drinking and that his father, who is a powerful figure, effectively threatened her with a long, painful trial. An international law firm defended him, so he received the best defense possible, probably so that his father's political aspirations would be minimally impacted.

      A close reading of Jesse's statement reveals no remorse for his actions (I defy anyone to find a place where he expresses contrition). Instead, he comes across as a highly intelligent person willing to do anything to get what he wants, so he's dotting Is and crossing Ts to appear to be a good contributor to society, but his narrative doesn't make me believe he's doing charity work for any reason than to appear contrite so he can obtain a prize of admission to the bar. If he were sorry, he would have expressed that rather than launching into what an awesome guy he is. As it stands, though, the impression I receive after reading his reddit post is that he feels inconvenienced by not being able to move on with his life.

      Lastly, Tasha's comments about this case illustrating women having the ability to ruin men's lives disgusts me. If Jesse's life is ruined, it's his own fault for raping a semi-conscious woman over a toilet; it is not his victim's fault for reporting it.

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  10. If we feared a rapist hoisting a trophy at a Wizards.....Well we let habitual cheaters do it and enter the HoF along side a convicted drug mule. That last comment though is clearly what's wrong with people today. When you're done Anonymous standing on your internet soupbox reread everything everyone says. Not once does anyone play down that he WAS as a very young adult a violent criminal. He has since paid restitution and has tried to continue living his life. But like the victim, also has the weight of a horrendous act forever over his head. Though I applaud your great use of satire of a horrendous act, I can see your morally high ground colored glasses would never be able to see the person that Zach has become since. God bless those without sin they can go on the internet and cast all of their stone from behind a computer screen anonymously.

    With Consensual Hugs and Kisses, Nik



    *Yours truly, Not an Anonymous Coward Nikolas Lima

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    1. "But like the victim, also has the weight of a horrendous act forever over his head" This difference is that Zach had control over the situation and the victim didn't. You are comparing someone who knew what they were doing was wrong with someone who got raped who didn't have a choice.

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    2. The article published back in 2004 says that they were both intoxicated...

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  11. the number of people who are focusing on the incident in 2004 and flat ignoring the 11 years since, while calling this justified, is appalling and absurd...it just makes me sad and angry

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  12. Awesome post Matt.

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  13. "On the night of August 19, the victim, a 19-year-old second-year UVA student, "pre-partied" with her roommates and friends and drank at least one margarita and several shots of tequila at her Brandon Avenue apartment before heading to a neighbor's apartment for a party.

    Just hours later, she testified at a mid-December preliminary hearing, she was raped by Jesse both vaginally and anally while slumped over a toilet in her own apartment.

    The victim– whose identity is being withheld in accordance with Hook policy, and who declined to comment for this article– testified that she had never seen Jesse, a graduate of Richmond's elite Collegiate prep school, before that night."

    Gee, I cannot imagine why I am devoid of sympathy for this man

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  14. What the fuck, why are you implying that the rape reportings are false? He confessed to it in a court of law because the evidence of damning. It's fucking sickening that you're implying that by someone having to dealing with the consequences of being an actual sexual offender, rapes will go unreported because people will think they're fake. What the shit?

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    1. hi didnt confess he took a plea deal which was approved by not only the prosecutor but also the victim

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    2. That's not what's being said. Improve your reading comprehension skills.

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    3. He took a plea deal because the legal system is impossibly stacked against men. His defense attorney couldn't guarantee he would be acquitted. This gives women far too much power to falsely accuse. What Mr. Jesse agreed to say to reduce his sentence is public record. What actually happened is potentially only known between the female and the defendant.

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  15. "Here is the core of the coming conflict: A lot of people in this community do not really think Zach Jesse did anything wrong. The end."
    It is specifically because people are so dismissive of rape that they are able to joke about other things, and getting banned for them."
    -@MagicChatFitz

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  16. "The way they chose to do this was just as frustrating, if not more, than what was done. No announcement, no explanation..."

    This assumes that Wizards of the Coasts is obligated to handle this a certain way, and the matter of the fact is that they are not obligated to do anything. How they want to handle this is entirely up to them.

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    1. Whether or not they are obligated to be transparent(they aren't) is immaterial to whether or not the action is frustrating, you can be annoyed at a decision regardless of the obligation or lack there of inherent in it. In other words, no wizards doesn't have to handle anything in any particular way, but the way they chose to handle this is fucking sickening and sets a very uncomfortable precedent of bannings at a mob's behest.

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  17. Matt, you are ignoring the real issue. Look at the banned list. Check the long suspensions. A lot of those are sex offenders. Many of them really are not safe to have at a magic tournament, and several were running tournaments themselves as part of owning a store. Not Wizards cannot determine who is safe, and who is not. So they have to assume all sex offenders are dangerous, because some truly are. It is not ideal, but I believe some should not be let in, and that Wizards can't, and shouldn't sort out who should.

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    1. I think that a lot of people wouldnt mind zj ban, atleast as much, if wizard just came out and said they dont want sex offenders at their events. We still might not agree, but atleast we know what we are dealing with, and then zj could also have known this could happen before he decided to go to a grand prix.
      Right now its not clear if its because he is a sex offender, because he is a criminal, because people are outraged on social media, or something that we know nothing about.

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  18. "It is more likely and much more true that they do not report instances of abuse BECAUSE they are often accused as trying to ruin someones' lives."
    "It's fucking sickening that you're implying that by someone having to dealing with the consequences of being an actual sexual offender, rapes will go unreported because people will think they're fake."

    Thank you. Although I appreciate Tasha's opinion, I find her closing paragraphs horrifying.

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  19. I am pretty sure Zach Jesse was banned because it'd be fucking gross to have to play against him.

    Posting this anonymously because doing otherwise opens one up to attacks by Gamergate assholes.

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    1. Is it gross to play against someone with overpowering body odor that makes you physically ill? If you answered no, you are a liar. I know this because I've experienced it. Do we DCI ban everyone who smells bad for life? If you answered yes you are a liar. Your personal feelings of "I don't like this guy" shouldn't cause Wizards to ban "this guy" because you rallied a bunch of people on Twitter against him. While Zac's presence may cause discomfort, unless he is committing legal or policy infractions at a DCI sanctioned event, he shouldn't be quietly banned and left out to dry.

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    2. Comparing body odor to rape maybe the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

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  20. Hasbro doesn't care. Why should they? This will all blow over next week anyway. Also, I don't think people understood what Tasha was saying, so you might have to expand on it.

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  21. I'm really glad that as a community we can all rally together around a man who raped a woman vaginally and anally over a toilet. I mean, he's a lawyer now, I bet he even owns a suit!

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    1. I'm really glad that you are willing to define a human being completely and totally by one terrible thing that he did over a decade ago. and whom has paid his debt to society as dictated by the state of Virginia and agreed to by the victim. Sure it makes for a snappy sound bite, but it totally discounts the 11+ years since the incident where he's turned his life around and been an upstanding husband, charity volunteer, and citizen.

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  22. I personally don't care in either direction but you should at least think about the following 1 wizards has the right to allow anyone to participate or not to participate in their events even if the way they go about it is not right. 2. Everyone supporting this "effort" would you still feel the same way if the victim in the case was your daughter, sister, close friend etc? I would venture to guess the answer would be no. 3. The biggest real impact this is going to have is people will note begin to try to report other players for previous crimes.... I would not be surprised if someone at this very moment is going through top 8 lists and doing felony checks. Yes the man did his time punishable by the crime he committed in a court of law, but that does not mean you are cleared in the court of public opinion.

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  23. Social Justice ruins everything.

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    1. But Anon, who else will shoulder the responsibility for punishing evil men for crimes they've already been punished for?

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  24. So, you're advocating for social injustice?

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  25. Great article. Very well articulated!
    I wanted to weigh in on this topic myself over the last few days and am now finally spurred into doing so.
    I think that WOTC has absolutely erred in the banning of Zach.
    If you had everyone playing magic do a criminal background check I think there would have to be alot of bannings under the pretense of "making a safer environment".
    I can tell you that I know many people whom I grew up with that are rehabilitated criminals. They did some stupid things when they were young involving assault, drug trafficking, and fraud to name a few. They all paid there penance and have had the burden of carrying that label with them all of there lives. They have paid there penance just like Zach has.
    I believe vehemently that people should be given a second chance and not judged on their past.
    You will have my respect until you show you do not deserve it.
    WOTC, please revoke Zach's ban. You are making him further pay for something he did 10 years ago.
    Thanks

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  26. If this suspension is to protect the community and keep players comfortable at events, how is it that a player can assault another player and only receive 3 month suspension. There were young players there 14 to 15 ish. My kids would often play there but no longer will because this player is still playing the game. I don't think there is any way to justify this ban and think he should be allowed to play!

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  27. I question the description of Zach as "remorseful". I have read Zach's comments that were originally posted, his comments by his friend on his behalf posted at the same time, his comments on his banning, and the news articles that were written at the time of the rape as well as when he was graduating law school. In none of those did he evoke anything resembling remorse other than describing how hard it made his life since then.

    The whole narrative of rehabilitation would be a lot more compelling if he had actually addressed the issue to the community.

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    1. Poor Zach didn't have time to rehabilitate what with only spending nights in jail for three months.

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  28. Let me start by saying that me or anyone I know has ever been raped or accused of rape but in my opinion raping someone causes them as much harm as falsely accusing someone of rape.

    From what I've read, Zach and the victim were both in the same house party and both drunk. My guess, is that they had shared some kisses and Zach wanted more. The victim was apparently a virgin and at some point she might have wanted to stop. Maybe she was willing at first and went with him to the bathroom (there were more people in the house so it would be harder to force her to go there) but when she realized she didn't want that, Zach, in his drunken state, didn't think that made any sense and he raped her. That obviously doesn't excuse rape but in my opinion it is very different than being set on raping someone. Those people are monsters and they show no regret or try to make amends.

    I have been drunk countless times. I've ranged from a slight buzz to basically unconscious. I've done a lot of stupid shit while drunk including provoking a group of guys who kicked my ass for it (something I would never do sober, even if I was with a bigger group). I never forced anything with a girl. Sure, I have annoyingly flirted but never tried to force any physical contact and even when I was being annoying, I was never slapped. Being drunk doesn't excuse Zach basically because it was his choice being drunk. However, I don't think he has a sick mind with raping urges and he never wanted anything like this. What started as a night to have some fun, ended up in probably the worst event of his life.

    He served his sentence, 10 years have passed, he has shown his life is affected by it everyday, not by other people (which also happens) but by himself. Every time he looks into a mirror he probably sees the harm he caused the victim, his family and himself. He doesn't say it because he doesn't believe people should pity him. He volunteers a lot of his time to help the community. He doesn't do it because he has to, he does it because he still feels guilty and he still feels like he hasn't fully paid (probably never will).

    He has done more for society than many people ever will. Certainly more than me and I've never committed a crime.. The only reason I would ever volunteer would be to have better chances of landing a job. I value my time very highly and I don't want to work for free. And people feel threatened by him? The world doesn't resolve around you. Do you catch the train or any other public transportation? Do you go to the mall or any public place? You've probably crossed paths with both convicted and non convicted rapists and other criminals. You didn't know it but some of those migth have actually been really dangerous. Zach has given his all during the last 10 years and he has been accepted in several places by people who know what he did. He hasn't harmed anyone in those 10 years. Why would he do it in a Magic event now?

    So the first mistake was the ridiculous reaction by some people on twitter. Some might be or know rape victims so it's obviously difficult to know someone who plead guilty of sexual assault is playing in Magic events. To those, Zach wasn't the one who harmed you or people you know and although he has harmed someone else, he has paid and made up for it. Others are just jerks who think no one but themselves can make mistakes. To those, go do something productive.

    Despite all this, Wizards can do whatever they want. They can ban him and they don't have to explain anything. They can also ban him from MTGO and they don't even have to pay him anything because everything on MTGO actually belongs to them. It's their game and if they wanted they could ban everyone. Obviously that would be stupid.

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    1. Banning Zach is stupid as well. Because of the first mistake done by some people on twitter, Wizards made the second mistake: banning Zach. Like several people have said, they didn't ban him because of what he has done, they didn't ban him to make everyone safer, they banned him because of a stupid reaction on twitter.

      They think this is the best for their image but they are wrong. There ar many more people more angry about this than there were people angry about him playing. Several pros have voiced their opinions on this and those do not favor Wizards. When several know faces of the game are against a decision of said game, it does not bode well for them.

      Many people know they can choose to ban you just because they want to, both in MTGO and in real life. Many people know you don't actually own any of the cards in MTGO. With this not only some more people know about it but now the fear is real. How many potential MTGO players have they lost because of this? How many people will cash out of MTGO because they don't feel safe knowing they are willing to abuse their policy? Ironically, even their excuse of making people feel safer, actually does the opposite.

      Once again, Wizards doesn't have to hear us out but doing so will actually be good for them.

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    2. Wow... Just wow. Thank God you don't make important decisions in the community. "He feels guilty"... "Zack in his drunken mind didn't think [her saying no] made any sense"...

      Seriously.Stop.

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    3. You sure drank his Kool-Aid. I hope you one day realize the extent of your rape-apologist attitude, mimicking his own line of self-serving BS, which had none of the contrition that you assume he feels.

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  29. Zach Jesse served three months in prison for ruining someone's life with a traumatic violent crime. Three months in our broken, broken justice system. The take-away I'm getting from this post, and from those who share the opinion, is that it's totally okay to rape people! Give them a slap on the wrist, tell them what they did was bad, and as long as they don't do it again, they're reformed and we can celebrate the fact that they didn't rape MORE people as a contribution to society!

    Banning Zach from MTG will do little to make up for where our justice system has faltered, but at the very least it's communicating that no, it's NOT okay to be a rapist. That you can't just rape someone, do THREE MONTHS, and then walk away without ever thinking about it again, without it being held against you years later.

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    1. Weird, cause that is exactly the point of our justice system. If someone commits a crime, they get punished. Then after they get out the government takes precautions(i.e. parole, psychological, community service) to both make sure people are doing positive things in their life and also to see if they behavior is different from their pre-incarcerated behavior. No one is saying its fine he raped someone. They are saying that they have faith that people can change. They are having faith that people aren't the worst mistakes they have made in their lives.

      This whole situation hits very personally to me. I am a registered sex offender. When i was 17 I had consensual sex with a 15 year old. My small town legal system then rushed me through trial with a local defense attorney who scared me into quickly accepting a plea bargain promising me that the judge would just give me a few months supervision and then I would have nothing on my recored. I went to 3 separate psychologist who all said I was no threat. The girl involved admitted it was completely consensual. At sentencing, after 30 minutes of the prosecutor giving his side to the judge, lying for 30 minutes, saying that it wasn't consensual, saying it was more then one girl involved, saying my sister was involved,(while my "defense attorney" told me to just wait he would make sure that it was pointed out, then said nothing) the judge said prison time and rose the statute to give me lifetime participation on the sex offender registry. The best part is less then 2 years later the same crime i committed is now a misdemeanor. I have lived my past X years being told by everyone that knows about it how it is shit i shouldn't have been in trouble at all and got way over sentenced. including my parole officer and my prison sex offender therapist(who told most of the people in my class if we killed ourselves it would probably be better off.)

      Now i have been playing magic for a long time but only started getting into competitive magic about a year ago. Have had some decent success, but due to work, I haven't been able to attend many bigger events. Right before this whole thing happened, my schedule changed to allow me much more time to attender Gp's and the like and i was ecstatic. I have lived my past X years barely able to find employment, or if i do literally get used to the point where i have to quit( example worked 60 hours in a week because the owners daughter "couldn't make it in". see pictures of them out at a giant lake party during the time, then getting paid only 40 hours cause, "i can't have overtime" when i said i was going to bring this up with the law, was told sure rapist do that see how fast i put you back in prison). The one thing i have found i have been able to get any small amount of happiness in my life is my wife and magic. most of my friends i met threw magic.

      The problem i have is what if i top 8 a gp. what if i win a rptq (was already very close to that twice) and get on the pro tour. do i have to worry about my past of consensual sex ostracizing me from the one area of my life in the past almost decade that has been a refuge for me.

      The problem isn't that Zach should or shouldn't be banned. personally i find everything about his crime disgusting. The reason i get treated the way i do by the average person is because on line i look like i'm just like him. I have very strong feelings towards people that commit rape. But without a precedent Now i get to sit and worry, "am I gonna be banned? Should i just sell the things i've worked on collected and perfecting for X years? if i decide to stay and continue playing, what if this happens to me?"

      Just some thoughts for yall

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    2. Finally someone hitting the nail on the head.

      The question is not whether WotC can ban Jesse, I think no one ever questioned that, but thanks for every second commenter for pointing that out, finally after reading it 20 times I get it (Spoiler alert: they can).

      The other question I don't want to answer is whether they should, just a few thoughts, the circumstances of the crime or the degree of punishment do not matter at this point. Someone said earlier, what if it happened to my family, well I'd like to see them dead, or at least every bit of joy sucked out of their lives, but that's why it is not the victim who makes the sentence. If you don't trust in the legal system you have far bigger problems then who you play against in a Magic tournament, and shouldn't exercise your need for justice in mob rallying.

      The most important thing here for me is whether WotC should do it in this way, for which my answer is NO. Top 8-ing a GP is no small feat, requiring a good amount of practice and dedication. I'd just like them to be transparent if anyone should even start or risk wasting all this effort on WotC not liking their public image. Not wanting sex offenders/cheaters/people with glasses at their events is fine, just say it beforehand and be consistent.

      The MTGO part is just outright ridiculous though, it reminds me of the reddit thread with the guy suspended for "exploiting" refunds. You have a shitty product for which people still pay for and on every opportunity you try to discourage them as much as possible.

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  30. The point is the LENGTH of the punishment. Three months is not a punishment for raping someone, it's a slap on the wrist. Would you feel okay with a three month sentence for murdering someone? "Go ahead and kill that person you dislike, it's just three months and then you can walk free like nothing ever happened!"... which is the REALITY WE LIVE IN with regards to rape. That is a broken justice system.

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    1. You are right, the justice system is broken. In every other decade in America before 2000, this would have been a simple case of drunken sex between teenagers. Now women have the ability to ruin men's lives because they had a regrettable sexual encounter.

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