When do you ask them not to participate?

I help run a league of about thirty players. One of those players has been called creepy (by multiple people) and was overheard making a sexist comment about a non-player.

I understand this answer will be different for many of us. Personally, I favor granting the most people the most freedom practical, including the freedom to do things I don’t like. I also acknowledge that my perspective as a rather physically imposing white male is different from many others.
I would like to hear your opinions. How restrictive do you make your acceptable group behavior and why? Do you go zero tolerance, one complaint and they are out? Go the other way, anything goes, thereby encouraging the uncomfortable people to join or form a group better suited to their needs?

If 1 person’s presence at an event causes other people to even consider not attending your event, you already have a problem where people are uncomfortable, and as the host of a private event such as a pinball league, you have the best ability to address that, since the player(s) who are made uncomfortable only have the option to confront that player directly, or stay away from your event.

For NYCPC, there was a player who was banned from our event prior to the start. I had never met this player, but when he registered and paid under a fake name, it reminded me to ask about him. After asking a few people about this person, I came to the conclusion that I would rather prevent this person from attending our event than make several of our other players uncomfortable and consider not attending, or withdraw from the event entirely.

Many pinball events use a system similar to soccer, where players can be warned, given yellow cards, or given red cards. It’s unlikely that a player will go straight-to-ejection, but it is possible. For the most part, if it’s your event it’s your call. You’re running a private event that you created, and no matter what you do, players may take an issue with your philosophy in running that event.


Obviously an immensely difficult question. I would try to gather as much objective information as possible. You mention that the person was described as “creepy”, but that description could mean a million things, many of them innocuous… could be anything from greasy hair or an unusual facial expression, or “doesn’t give enough personal space”, through to inappropriate touching or personal comments directed at a player. It wouldn’t hurt to talk (individually, in private) to the people who have made this remark, and see what common attributes you hear… this might help give some insight as to whether the person is potentially a concern, or just kind of an odd duck.

Either way, once you have objective information, especially if you hear the same concerns repeatedly, I’d take it up with the “creepy person” (again, individually and in private) and make them aware of the situation… it’s certainly possible that they’re unaware, perhaps due to cultural issues or medical issues.


This. If people have vocalized concern with the person then it should be brought up to them to correct the behavior. If they continue then the league officials should meet to decide if they should be allowed to participate.

i think it also depends on what the comment was in general. I’m not going to gain any friends by saying this but Austin has become one of the most overly PC places I’ve ever been and it’s now “cool” to be offended so people look for reasons to complain about everything. Not saying what occurred didn’t happen or wasn’t offensive but before banning someone I think things should be vetted out to identify the real concern and what occurred.

Now that I’m typing this, I guess this could even be me or the person I was talking with when a really attractive girl walked into Pinballz during our tournament with her Boyfriend. I smiled as she walked passed and did my typical how are you nod to her and her boyfriend (I know I’m an oddball person but I do “try” to be friendly with others) and she smiled back at me (her boyfriend not so much as I think he thought I was hitting on her). Person I was playing with said, “I think she’s interested as she just smiled at you.” I quickly replied with, “Only if she’s interested in disappointment.” as I’m a 40 year old pudgy awkward guy, not to mention married. He and I chuckled and went back to our normal conversation.

If something like that is considered sexist then I think people are to sensitive. But if someone is making lude comments like, “I’d bend her over and XYZ her.” that goes past the line. Or if that person made a pass at the other person and was rejected but didn’t get the hint, that also passes the line. Either way, that person needs to know that what they are saying or doing is making people feel uncomfortable. They may not be aware of it or even realize it was an offensive gesture/comment.

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To be clear, @YeOldPinPlayer did already privately approach the player in question and make him aware that he needed to modify his behavior. I don’t know if the behavior has recurred; I’ve not seen this player in a few weeks. (Perhaps the problem has self-corrected?) Also, while I agree with your complaint about people being too easily offended these days, the reporter is not one of those people, and I’d be inclined to trust her instincts.

Dang! All the Tuesday jammers are here!! So this person hasn’t played in a few weeks and is asking to return or what’s up?

I don’t really want to get into any more details on a public forum. There’s probably already too much identifying information, and we don’t want to get into public shaming.


That changes things. If they have already been approached for this and still continue the behavior then the league officials should vote on actions. In this type of situation I don’t think just YeOldPinPlayer should have to make that call on his own.

The tough part is we play at a public location so not allowing them to play doesn’t prevent them from being present and can actually potentially make things more uncomfortable. If the action was great enough to where Pinballz would ban them from their business then that answer the question but if the action in question isn’t something Pinballz would take action on (sexual harassment in their establishment is a liability for them too) then that also helps answer the question.

We have several people in league that make me feel uncomfortable (mainly that personal space thing mentioned above) but that is just their personality so I deal with it but if someone is crossing the line, been talked to already and continues to do it then action should be taken. I didn’t want to assume but the word “she” was used so I know the gender now. Theirs not a lot of women in our league so the rest of us (men and women) need to also stand up for them if we see something occur. Hopefully, some other members didn’t see it and not take any sort of action (if it was as egregious is alluded to).

Just a shame in general as league is supposed to be where we escape the stresses of life :frowning:

A couple of suggestions:

  • A general announcement before your tournament begins about pinball etiquette including good spectator behavior when not playing. Try to be specific, but make it clear that it applies to everybody. This is a bow-shot that puts the awkward player on notice. If nothing else, it lets your entire group know that you are continually trying to create a comforting environment and you got their backs covered.

  • We are pinball people, not sociologists or psychologists. However, the resources available within the pinball community always amazes me. There may be a player in your group that has a better read on this situation, perhaps somebody in the mental health field that could offer a suggestion.

In the end, I believe that tournament directors have a responsibility to maintain fairness while being an a goodwill ambassador for pinball.


That changes things. If they have already been approached for this and still continue the behavior then the league officials should vote on actions.

I’ve no reason to believe the behavior has continued. @YeOldPinPlayer brought this to our attention privately and discussions are ongoing there, as well. He just wanted to toss it out here for opinions from an experienced audience.

didn’t want to assume but the word “she” was used so I know the gender now. Theirs not a lot of women in our league so the rest of us (men and women) need to also stand up for them if we see something occur.

Mea culpa. I should have been a bit more generic. Fortunately, there are enough women in our league that this isn’t overly specific. Agreed that everyone should stand up for fellow players, regardless of who is on the giving or receiving end of harassment. I’ve always found our league to be a welcoming and generous place to play.

Thanks. We do plan on reiterating our rules, as we’ve become lax on enforcement of a few of them (excessive swearing, rage tilting, etc.). Bundling all of the reminders together will make sure no one feels singled out. I certainly have a rage tilt or two to atone for!


Im not creepy!! :slight_smile:

well maybe a little



It’s been waaaaay too long, Jeff - most of the new players aren’t even going to know you! We’re still there every week, come by when you’re back in town and I’ll bring some New Glarus.