Today is a day of celebration for UnsleevedMedia and all the activists in the Magic community who continued to push for Wizards of the Coast and Magic Judges to enact mandatory background checks! For almost half a month now constant evidence has been publicized of convicted sex offenders being in the Magic Judge program, some still participated in children events after be convicted. The call for judges to be required to undergo a background check in order to continue or join the judge program grew.
Wizards released a statement yesterday stating that "tournament organizers and retailers will be explicitly required to conduct background checks for all staff (as permitted by applicable law)." And that "This includes CFB Events' Grand Prix, local store events like Friday Night Magic, and professional events like the Pro Tour and World Magic Cup as well as convention play run by Wizards."
Wizards also updated their Wizards Play Network Terms and Conditions to now include the background check requirements and a policy section specifically regarding sex offenders. Which is most likely a response to the article Magic: Sex Crimes Lies And Elaine Chase by Lou Colagiovanni, where he calls out Wizards for claiming to have a zero-tolerance policy while demonstrating that Wizards had more of a "some tolerance" to "Whenever we feel like it-olerance." policy on sex offenders.
Elaine Chase, Vice President of Global Brand Strategy at Wizards, included her take of what happened regarding the case of Ross Prajzner, a level 3 judge who continued to judge at Magic events while being prosecuted and after being convicted for distributing child pornography. "We learned, however, that an individual reported to the Judge Conduct Committee was inadvertently not decertified by Magic Judges nor reported to Wizards...However, once this was brought to our attention, Wizards immediately coordinated with Magic Judges--an independent community-run organization that operates and manages the judge community and its Judge Conduct Committee--to address the situation."
Magic Judges were contacted mid last year about Prajzner's 2014 conviction after a game issue at an event. He was DCI banned a few days ago. Her full statement reads below,
A vocal part of the Magic Judge community have been in strong opposition against the idea of mandatory background checks. Many trying to paint the stories as false or a conspiracy against the judge program and Wizards.
We stand with Gem, Wizards, the Judge Program & the countless others. Anyone trying to tie the Magic Judge community to a pedophilia conspiracy is not just a disgusting person, they're doing it to *get more clicks* & harm our entire community. Be better than that. https://t.co/IOoM7qD6Ml— Commanderin' (@commanderinmtg) January 6, 2018
The response I've seen has been confusion, anger, concern, from judges, WPN members, Magic players, etc. Exactly one group has expressed utter happiness and joy and we all know who that is, and we know it doesn't remotely come from "making kids safe."— The Mana Leek (@themanaleek) January 13, 2018
Now it is good to note that "Professors" for Pokemon Tournaments are required to complete a background check during the application process. The Pokemon Company states that Professors can choose between being an Organizer, Trading Card Game Judge or a Video Game Judge. The background check policy is already being used by other card games and seems to be working fairly well, despite what the Magic Judges try to claim. This new policy will help keep children safe from sex offenders and other violent convicts at "CFB Events' Grand Prix, local store events like Friday Night Magic, and professional events like the Pro Tour and World Magic Cup as well as convention play run by Wizards."
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