RLCS Spring champions Moist Esports have announced their intention not to attend the upcoming Gamers8 event due to the poor human rights record of the host nation, Saudi Arabia.
Moist’s announcement came on Twitter on July 8 via the team’s head coach Noah “noah” Hinder.
Moist Esports will not be attending the GWB Lan in Saudi Arabia. To simply put it i will not be associating with a country that does not recognise LGBTQ+ people as human beings.
I think it’s important to put my morals and beliefs over money
— noah (@nzeroah) July 8, 2022
Moist Esports boycott Gamers8
Gamers8, due to begin on July 14, is a Rocket League tournament with a $2,000,000 prize pool. The event is organized by the Saudi Ministry of Sport and lists music streaming platform Spotify as a sponsor.
Following their win at the Rocket League Championship Series Spring Major on July 3, Moist Esports seemed like a lock for the tournament. However, on July 8, head coach noah announced that the team would not be attending.
Noah’s reasoning, according to his tweet, is that he “will not be associating with a country that does not recognise LGBTQ+ people as human beings. I think it’s important to put my morals and beliefs over money”.
Following noah’s message, Moist Esports player Finlay “rise.” Ferguson tweeted his support for his coach and confirmed that the team will not not be attending the event in Riyadh.
Tbh i really wanted to attend GWB. However,seeing how much this meant to noah changed my mind,we're just gonna focus on worlds and do our best there.Sorry if you wanted to see us in Riyadh but hopefully we can give you a good performance at worlds <3 https://t.co/9ZNT2PpX6R
— rise. (@riseRL_) July 8, 2022
Saudi Arabia has been embroiled in human rights controversies for many years, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ individuals. Same-sex sexual activities are illegal in the nation, and LGBTQ+ individuals suffer severe prosecution and repression under the current regime. The Saudi Arabian government does not currently recognize any forms of “LGBTQ+ rights”.
The nation has also been accused of “sportswashing”, a term referring to the use of organized sports in an attempt to rehabilitate or mask the perception of a nation or organization. This has most recently been seen in professional golf, with the launch of LIV Golf, a professional golf tour backed and financed by the Saudi government. In esports, this has also been seen in the Saudi backing of Gamers Without Borders, a multi-esport charity event that culminates at Gamers8.
Rocket League community reacts to noah
The response to Moist’s announcement has been overwhelmingly positive, with many fans praising the team’s integrity and commitment to their values. Noah’s original message and rise.’s support were highlighted by popular esports personality Jake Lucky, spreading the message to an even bigger audience.
A handful of comments can be found lamenting about “people making everything political” or simply calling the decision an “L” but huge swathes of the Rocket League, and wider esports community, have come out in support of Moist Esports.
As alluded to by rise., Moist will instead begin training for the RLCS World Championship, due to start on August 4 in Fort Worth, Texas.