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Jong-Ryeol "Saebyeolbe" Park . Photo: Photo: Blizzard

Four Chinese teams that participate in the American-run Overwatch League are dropping their refusal to compete against a Korean player who made comments supportive of Hong Kong and Taiwan's independence.

What they're saying: "In the spirit of sportsmanship and continuing to deliver amazing competition for our fans around the world, the teams have agreed to resume normal activities with one another," the league said in a statement first reported by the Washington Post.

Between the lines: During a Twitch stream in April, Seoul Dynasty player Jong-Ryeol "Saebyeolbe" Park complained that streaming on a Chinese platform prevented him from describing Hong Kong and Taiwan as their own countries, as reported by Kotaku.

On Tuesday, four Chinese teams criticized Park's statements, rejecting an apology he'd made since then and vowing to boycott.

  • That planned boycott is no longer happening, according to the league.

Flashback: In 2019, Overwatch League parent company Blizzard suspended a competitive "Hearthstone" player who shouted, "Liberate Hong Kong" in a post-game interview.

  • The league stripped him of his prize money and suspended him for a year.
  • It later reduced his punishment, as it took criticism from an unlikely combination of politicians, including Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Sign up for the new Axios Gaming newsletter here.

Go deeper

Aug 5, 2021 - Sports

As Little League continues, participation dwindles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

The Little League World Series regionals begin Thursday, with all roads leading to the championship in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 29.

Why it matters: While the country begins its annual love affair with this ESPN-broadcast spotlight on youth sports, it misses the other side of the story: Little League participation has been dwindling for years.

Updated 51 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.