For our first paintball “Hall of Shame” post, let’s not forget this beauty from 2003!
RESPONSIBLE PAINTBALL–BANNING PLAYER’S
By Guy D. Cooper – As printed in Paintball News ( March 8,2003 )
The MSTS finals were held at the Denver, Colorado USA, National Western, Indoor complex, November 23-24. Wayde Samuel was the last player of the Yarddog team facing four of the opponents. Chris Lasoya, bunkered Wayde. His move was very good, but it was not necessary to shoot him twelve times in the head. As a result, Wayde was knocked out cold and was unresponsive.
Paramedics deemed it necessary to have him ambulanced to the hospital. He was cat scanned etc.. and released 7 hours later, having suffered a concussion.
Lasoya claimed he only pulled the trigger 6 or so times while admitting he put 12 balls onto Wayde. It does not matter whether he pulled the trigger 12 times, trigger bounce occured, the marker was set on burst mode illegally, or there was a malfunction, pulling the trigger 6 times to shoot someone in the head deliberately is inexcusable. A player, especially a professional level player such as Lasoya with years of experience, is responsible for being in control of the marker, marker settings, and particularly of his trigger finger. There is no excuse for putting that many balls onto someone’s head or forehead, at point blank range.
I think this is unacceptable paintball. It is not cool, not fun, hurts the sport and does not impress me one bit. The high rates of fire and this kind of pointblank headshot shooting or any other kind of punishment bunkering is not going to attract recreational paintball players. It does nothing but put players at risk for serious injury, blindness in one or both eyes should a goggle system be dislodged or possibly even death.
It is time to change the rules and get rid of Prima Donnas that think punishment bunkering is a cool thing to do. Shouldn’t we, as industry leaders work to protect the industry from players like LaSoya, who are truly no good for the future of paintball? Here is the kicker, LaSoya has been banned “for life” from the Pan Am and the WPF (when the WPF was run by Jim Lively with Bill Bryant as the director of judging). Banned for similar unacceptable behavior. Wayne Samuel runs the largest paintball field in
Colorado. He and myself also sponsor one of the oldest teams in the country, the Yarddogs. Wayne has informed the MSTS that the Yarcdogs will not play in next years MSTS if LaSoya is allowed in the tournament.
In Chris LaSoyas’ email to me, he expresses remorse for playing in this event. Why did the promoter allow some pro player’s in a novice/amateur event? He was not the only “pro” allowed to play, either. LaSoya also offered an apology and expressed it was not his intention to hurt anyone. He goes on to say in another email, “I find it hard to change the style of play I am loved and hated for.” He ends the message with, “play hard and play fast or don’t play at all”. Wow! That statement sure fits our wide
market image! I think not! Tournament players represent the smallest share of paintball and as a former tournament player, I would not subscribe to his philosophy.
La Soya was banned for life from the Pam Am, for his behavior. They said, LaSoya was apologetic at the Pan Am also. The mother of Wayde works at the high school from which a number of paintball players attend. One of those players came to her and mentioned LaSoya was bragging about what he did. He was being sponsored by “Pod *****” (offensive name in itself, can’t
you see Michael Jordan wearing some similar name on TV?). At the pod*****.com site they made light of the event saying, in print, “a Timmy put some fool in the hospital”. A Timmy is slang for a Bob Long Intimidator paintball marker.
Incredibly, Jeremy Salm, another pro player also played the MSTS (a rookie, novice and amateur series). This is the same person who was banned, for his behavior at the World Cup and from ever playing for a team sponsored by JT, ViewLoader or any other Brass Eagle Brand. . (Source: paintball2xtremes magazine). As it was reported by Warpig.com: “Ground Zero Gold faced Avalanche in the preliminary rounds on the National Paintball Supply field, on the South edge of the tournament complex. After a few GZ players were eliminated, they stood in the dead box trying to figure out who had shot them. They had been hit in the back. GZ player Pete Utschig looked out in the woods and spotted some blond hair. He bolted from the dead box, and reportedly chased down and apprehended Jeremy Salm of Avalanche dressed in black, with a black paintgun. Statements had been made
prior to the game that Salm was ill, so Avalanche team owner and retired player Ed Poorman was playing in his place on Friday. Source: (warpig.com/paintball/tournament/nppl/2002/worldcup/index.shtml) Salm was chased down and caught. , Brass Eagle, Inc. is convinced that Salms actions were taken on his own, without the knowledge of other team members; however,
because all team sponsorship contracts incorporate behavior clauses, an undisclosed punitive fine will be assessed against Team Avalanche to reinforce the importance of team responsibility in all matters. Hence, Brass Eagle will continue to sponsor Team Avalanche, under certain stringent conditions. Oh yes, Salm and LaSoya formerly played for Avalanche. During their tenure, the Avalanche team was on probation for 3 NPPL tournament games.
Incredibly, LaSoya was mentioned as the “Michael Jordan” of paintball in the February 2003 issue of Paintball 2 Xtremes magazine. Who are they kidding? Who would Michael Jordan be if he was banned from certain basketball divisions for life? These types of paintball players are not ambassadors for the sport of paintball.
Who in their right mind would allow someone to play who has been banned from the Pan Am, kicked out of a WPF and had a number of other controversial incidents? We are wanting paintball to be televised more, parents are in the bleachers watching their children play, Disney is getting into the sport. With that in mind, we cannot allow players whose goal in life seems to being nothing but headshots, cheating, and bringing disruption and shame to themselves and ultimately to the sport of paintball.
How might we go about forming an Organization for Responsible Tournament Paintball, that keeps a roster of banned players? This idea is being tossed around. The idea is, if a player is suspended or put on probation in one league, it will show up in a central player database. Other leagues would be free to make their own rules and how to handle these players. At least they would be on notice. Such leagues may even have a fiduciary responsibility to not allow player’s known to cause injury to other players.
There are moves being made in this direction for 2003 by the IPPI, using the PanAm ID card system that has proved excellent for tracking individual players for several years. Ringers and players on probation or suspended are in the data base where any tournament circuit involved with IPPI can be aware of them.
Banning players does not just apply to tournament players but applies to rec ball player’s and scenario players. It is simply good business to rid our industry of these kinds of players. I owned a field for nine years. During that time, we had to send players home for being drunk and for fighting. If they did the same thing again, they were banned from the field for life. We had a frat house come play and no matter how many times we warned the players and spectators to keep their goggles on, they would not
do so. We could not get the team captain to control his people. We personally delivered a letter to the frat house, stating, for their own safety and the safety of others we could no longer let their members play at our field.
I had a nice talk with Richard Fraige who owns Soft Gel-Caps West. He attended a tournament and was dismayed by what he saw. There were many women and children spectators. Yet, players just cussed and showed very unruly behavior. He mentioned this to a field ref and was told “this is a high pressure sport and it is not uncommon for players to cuss and blow off steam”, and then proceeded to tell Richard to go sit with the spectators. At the same event, Richard told the head ref that the players hopper was
hit. He was told to shut the “blank” up. At the end of the game, the head ref was seen walking off with that same player.
If parents start seeing this kind of unruly behavior, they are not going to want their kids to play paintball.
In closing, I would like to say, the majority of paintball players, referees and event promoters are wonderful, consciences people who want to see the paintball industry flourish “AND” do the proper things to help the industry flourish. A player like Chris LaSoya, who I know personally, is not a “bad” person, in fact, he is quite personable. It is just his actions that are no good for the growth of paintball, as is the case of other negative actions mentioned in this editorial.
Guy D. Cooper