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Permabanned Pokemon TCG Pro Asks Community to Help Him Get Unbanned

A well-known Pokémon TCG player is fighting to have his official ban lifted and the community is rallying around him due to the circumstances of the situation.

Competitor Jacob “Jay” Lesage recently shared a TwitLonger in which he asked Pokémon to lift his indefinite ban for the fifth year in a row. From 2010 to 2018, Jay was a well-known player in the community but his attempts to contact The Pokémon Company have been “ignored,” leading him to ask the community for help.

In the TwitLonger, Jay admitted that he’s been banned three times, starting when he was a player in the Senior division. That was in 2010 at Worlds when he threw up a hand sign called “The Shocker” that ultimately got him banned for one year. This ban was shortened so he could compete at the Canadian National Championship in 2011. Jay agreed that this ban was warranted.

His second ban was in 2015 while competing in the Masters division at 18 years old. After coming in last place in a private bet he had with friends, he was dared to convince a judge at the Canadian Nationals that he had won a regional tournament. He ultimately joked about it with a judge he knew and then let them know after that he hadn’t won a regional and was just going along with a prank. Despite this interaction, he still received a bye for having won a regional.

After asking the head judge to fix it, he still had a bye and ultimately had to talk with a group of judges about what happened. According to Jay, he was then disqualified from the event for “lying” to an official and “delaying the event start time.”

Wrote Jay: “I subsequently received a letter stating that I was banned for 3 months because of this incident, which rendered me unable to play in the 2015 World Championships in Boston, MA. At the time of this ban, I was a Top 16 player in North America, so not getting to play in Worlds that year was very disheartening. I attempted to appeal this ban, but TPCi denied my appeal request stating that I had not given them ample evidence to rescind the ban.”

In response, Jay explained that he found the ban to be “egregious.” While he was fine being removed from the tournament for his “harmless prank,” he felt Pokémon banned him just off of the fact that he was disqualified alone, not looking into the details of the situation.

At 22, Jay received his third ban, which led to his indefinite ban status. By 2018, Jay had “ramped up” his level of competitive play and was known for his in-depth deck analysis and competitive play. But Jay believes one of his articles for 60 Cards ultimately got him in trouble.

In the article, Jay wrote about how top players often manipulate the pace of a game to get the advantage on opponents, an “open secret among top players.” Jay said that he no longer thinks this behavior is okay but that the article still reflected reality at the time. Still, the article appeared to “encourage” this behavior.

Pokémon Community Urges Pokémon to Unban Top Player

Due to these three bans, Jay is now indefinitely banned with no duration mentioned from Pokémon. He appealed the indefinite ban seven times since 2018 but nothing has been done.

“I think being punished for my article is completely justified, however the length of time I am banned for is what I have a problem with. I have been unable to play the Pokémon TCG competitively for the last 5 years, with no end to my ban in sight,” Jay wrote. “In my opinion, 5 years is an awfully long time, and I have served my sentence. My friends and family all play, and I wish I could enjoy this amazing hobby with them.”

During his five years away from the competitive scene, Jay said that he’s grown a lot more mature and is hoping for the chance to play a clean game with the rest of the community. He apologized for his wrong-doings, expressing fear that he’ll never be able to return, even if his future children end up wanting to compete in tournaments. Not being able to play the game has been a “hole in my life,” Jay admitted.

The Pokémon community has largely come out in support of Jay, especially since the first ban was from when he was a minor.

Others pointed out that players have been unbanned for far worse behavior, including the forever iconic Greninja-in-the-lap incident. A lot of players have also been allowed to stay even after others have reported them for being homophobic, transphobic, or harassment.

Some players, however, felt that Jay openly admitted to cheating in his 60 Cards article. In his article, Jay did admit to using the time manipulation tactic. In response, Jay agreed that he had taken part in the meanspirited behavior but said he hopes to come back as an honest, mature, and fair player.

Meanwhile, a lot of Pokémon players are emailing Pokémon and sending in support tickets on his behalf. Only time will tell what will happen going forward.