Esports Player Denied Entry Into The U.S.

Brandon Garcia, Contributor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

free LeffenEsports Super Smash Brothers Melee player William Hjelte a.k.a. “Leffen” from Sweden was recently denied a visa to the United States due to his gaming league not being considered a legitimate sport. This denial has caused a controversy in the Esports community because of Leffen’s notable position on the competitive scene.

Leffen has created a notorious name for himself due to his disrespectful attitude toward other players and his prior displays of bad sportsmanship. In 2013, he was banned from entering European tournaments because of his negativity.

After Leffen created a name for himself in the Esports community, he took it upon himself to become the “Godslayer” of Super Smash Brothers Melee. In the Super Smash Brothers community there are five players who are considered the best players and as a result, they have been named “The Five Gods of Smash.” While Leffen, being the amazing player he is, fans consider him one of the gods but Leffen himself would much prefer to be the only “God of Smash.”

In 2015 Leffen  was deported from the U.S. while competing at an Esports event because he was traveling with a tourist visa when he needed a work visa instead. Leffen then applied for a P1 Visa. The P1 Visa is what professional athletes use to come into the U.S. to participate in any athletic event as an athlete alone or with a team to perform at an internationally recognized level.

People in the Super Smash Brothers community then united to gain permission for Leffen to enter the U.S. by creating a petition with more than  100,000 signatures asking the White House to allow him to play. Many renowned people in the community began making youtube videos asking fans to sign the petition and share it  by tweeting it out with the hashtag #Freeleffen.

March Mountain Junior, Ivan Moreno, was asked if he thought Esports players were considered athletes and he responded by saying, “of course, they’re athletes they play in their own leagues, get sponsored by teams, and are paid for attending events and tournaments just like other athletes.”

When March Mountain Junior Elijah Stanton was asked how he would feel if he was denied entry into a foreign country to attend a tournament because his league was not considered a legitimate sport he said, “I’d be pissed because then that means I can’t compete and get paid. That’s like not being allowed to go to work in another country because that country doesn’t think your job is real.”

It is amazing to see the Super Smash Brothers community unite. Hopefully Super Smash Brothers becomes recognized as a legitimate sport to allow more players to get sponsored and more people to turn their passion and skill for the game into a career.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email