Zach Jesse

Image from ATGN.com.au

Image from ATGN.com.au

Zach Jesse, a professional Magic the Gathering player was banned on July 1st by Wizards of the Coast through the year 2049. This ban comes in the wake of controversy surrounding Jesse’s criminal record.  Back in early March, after Jesse qualified for the top 8 in a tournament in Atlantic City, fellow pro Drew Levin tweeted: “Quick reminder: Zach Jesse is a literal rapist who got away with serving three months of an eight year plea deal.”

Zach Jesse responded with a reddit post in which he detailed the plea deal he struck as a college student in 2004. From facing charges of rape, he took a plea bargain to move the charges down to aggravated sexual battery which required him to serve three months of an eight-year sentence in a work release program.

The  news of Jesse’s conviction led to controversy in the Magic the Gathering community and he was officially banned at the start of this month. The ban has thus far been divisive in the MTG community, as some applaud the decision and others question whether the ruling is fair.

Those in support of the ban say that it will help promote a healthier community where individuals–especially females–can feel safer. They further point to the abhorrent act of rape and sexual abuse and say that Jesse got what he deserved.

Others question the decision and the lack of transparency in Wizards of the Coast’s banning policies and claim that the ban is more of a PR move than an action to increase public safety. Some would say that the decision shows a lack of trust in the justice system and in individual’s abilities to rehabilitate.

You can read a more in-depth coverage of the ban here.