We will do better going forward. But our actions are going to matter more than any words. As you walk around this weekend, I hope it's clear how committed we are to everyone's right to express themselves in all kinds of ways, in all kinds of places."
That was Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, opening the developer's BlizzCon fanfest on Friday with comments about last month's banning of Hearthstone pro Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for supporting Hong Kong protesters in a post-match interview.
He was absolutely right in that Blizzard's actions matter more than its words, which is what made it so disappointing over the weekend when a PC Gamer interview with Brack showed that the company had no actions to go along with its words.
When PC Gamer asked Brack if the commitment to people's rights to express themselves meant the bans on that pro player and the two broadcasters who conducted the post-match interview had been lifted, Brack confirmed they had not. The support for free expression "in all kinds of places" that Brack talked about is in reality limited to some kinds of places. More specifically, places other than Blizzard's official Hearthstone competitions, which you could interpret as places where it is less likely to be heard.
"I feel like we have a far more open set of guidelines and policies than really any other traditional sport that takes a view around making sure that all of the people stay on message."