Sid Blair: Perhaps The Strangest Magic Ban in History

Magic player Sid Blair got banned for poor sportsmanship due to photos he took during the 2014 Richmond Grand Prix.

Bans from playing Magic: The Gathering for any period of time are rare and are typically due to some sort of cheating or very poor sportsmanship. One person, however, found a way to get barred from Magic for a while for something he did that didn't even involve gameplay.  Or even being seated at the table, for that matter. Well, at least he wasn't seated at the time.

Back in 2014 at the Richmond Grand Prix, no one cheated. Nothing illegal went on (as far as we know). And yet, it's one many will forever remember thanks to one player: Sid Blair.

Blair decided to go around the event and have pictures taken of himself, well, the butt cracks of unknowing players. And not just one or two. It was a lot of players. As in a truly upsetting number of players just living their life and trying to enjoy the game of MTG. And, these photographs were all taken without the knowing of the person being highlighted (lowlighted?) in the background.

The whole point, according to Blair, was to help point out just how many players were not being respectful of others around them. And, you know, comedy. And so, they were kept secret for about a year.

Magic players come in all shapes and sizes and from different walks of life, so it seems Blair was documenting that in a very odd way. But then he posted it all on Imgur in 2015, which quickly found it's way to Reddit. And even then that wasn't it because it made national news. As in Kotaku and Time (yes, someone who took pictures of a lot of people's butt cracks at a Virginia Magic Tournament made Time).

It's not too often that Magic makes national news, and when it's on something completely unplanned, unexpected, and out of left field, it's not always the most welcome news. And you can bet those at Wizards of the Coast were furious. Especially after it became a huge meme known as "Grand Prix Richmond Crackstyle".

"Disrespectful, harassing or bullying behavior, whether onsite or online, is not welcome at Magic events and violates Magic tournament floor rules." said Magic in response to the incident before handing down a six month ban against Blair, which then turned into an 18 month ban.

It's not the most satisfying ending, especially since the ban was opposed by some and called too short by others. But it showed that WotC is serious in taking players' privacies private in the age of social media. And with new apps moving to prominence in the years ahead (such as the emergence of TikTok since then) as well as more live steaming options, WotC now already has precedence on what they'll do if someone ever tries this again at one of their events to hopefully ensure nobody else will become the butt of another person's joke.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.