You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Friends Remember Jacksonville Victims as Genuine, Kind, Selfless

One is described as “kind and genuine.” The other, a devoted husband and father. Both were fierce (but friendly) competitors, victims of Sunday’s shooting at an EA-sanctioned Madden Classic qualifying event in Jacksonville, Florida.

Both Elijah “Trueboy” Clayton, 22, from Woodland Hills, California, and Taylor “spotmeplzzz” Robertson, 27, from Ballard, West Virginia were regulars on the competitive scene. “They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community,” wrote EA CEO Andrew Wilson in a statement issued Monday night.  “Their love of competition was evident through their participation in our events over the past few years.”

In addition, “Madden” pro players and fans have flocked to share their memories of both men in the wake of the tragedy, which also left eleven wounded.

Elijah “Trueboy” Clayton

Elijah Clayton was the eldest of ten. “He was a good man,” Clayton’s cousin Brandi Pettijohn said in prepared statement delivered on behalf of the family. “He did not believe in violence. He never even had a fistfight. He loved football.”

He was saving his earnings from the “Madden” pro circuit to afford college tuition.

“I’m really easy to get along with, I’m not a troublemaker,” Clayton said in an interview earlier this year. “I’m always laughing and joking around. I’m just me, a cool dude. There’s really nowhere to go but up, honestly.”]

Countless social media posts back up his view of himself as a warm, welcoming, and friendly competitor. Clayton was an established fixture in the pro Madden circuit, but he always had time for young up-and-comers.

I met TrueBoy last year and was surprised he gave me… a nobody, the time of day,” wrote a user named @OneHitGamerStudios. “Talked about game design and he encouraged me to ‘just do what you do and be happy.’ Sorry this happened to you, bud.”

“NBA 2K” pro player Dayne “One Wild Walnut” Downey also shared a fond memory of his first meeting with Clayton. “Still remember what you told me after I received my awards and I will never forget it,” Downey wrote. “One of the first Madden pros that ever reached out to me on here. God bless you and your loved ones. Life isn’t fair sometimes.”

Clayton didn’t just play football with a controller in his hand. His alma mater, Calabasas High School, extended its condolences on Sunday. Clayton was a member of the football team, which will be honoring the alumnus’ memory at this Friday’s varsity football game.

“We are shocked and broken-hearted to learn that our former student, Elijah Clayton, passed in the tragic shooting in Jacksonville,” wrote Calabasas High School principal CJ Foss. “Our entire community is shocked and saddened by this loss.”

Clayton’s rivals were often his friends. Shay “Young Kiv” Kivlen, remembers Clayton’s “genuine smile.” “U were one of the most kind and genuine people I’ve ever met,” Kivlen wrote. “I love u like a brother. I’m gonna miss hearing you laugh everyday and seeing your genuine smile.”

Kivlen also shared an Instagram post Clayton wrote after the two competed at this year’s Madden Bowl in April. Even in defeat, Trueboy was able to celebrate his friend’s triumph, calling the experience “bittersweet.” “I say bittersweet because my brother Kiv put in the work and finally won the thang,” he wrote. “What most people don’t understand is we been grinding for 4 years on the circuit trying to make a name for ourselves and honestly I think we did a damn good job with a lot more to show come next year.”

Taylor “spotmeplzzz” Robertson

A 2009 graduate of James Monroe High, Taylor Robertson got his start on the high school football field. Described as a “very cerebral player” by former coach Steve Newberry to West Virginia Metro News, it’s no surprise that Robertson found success playing “Madden.”

He took home the crown at the 2017 Madden Classic and was recently named to esports team Dot City Games, which called him a “great competitor” and “well-loved” following the shooting.

While his prowess on the digital field was formidable, it’s his love for his wife Holly and son Reed that are his legacy. Robertson’s Twitter timeline is filled with football and Madden moments, but its his family that brought out his smile in photos.

“He was a great father and husband,” friend and former Versus Sports teammate Houssam “Sam” Abouhasira told Variety. “He loved his wife and kid. He was saving up to buy some land in WV with his wife.”

Robertson worked in a local bank, and spent his time playing “Madden” and earning extra money on the side. “It was just kind of the fairy tale story,” Monroe County Clerk Donnie Evans told the Metro News. “He had a good job, he worked at First Community Bank, you know, playing by the rules and doing what he was supposed to be doing.”

Like Clayton, Robertson made friends in the Madden competitive community. “Nicest guy I’ve ever met in my life,” said Raidel “Echo Fox Joke” Brito on Twitter today.

Abouhasira lauded his former teammate’s selflessness and sense of fair play. “I want people to know he was one of the most genuine people,” he told Variety. “I remember giving him a lot of advice about esports and his career and what he should do with his YouTube and Twitter. He was literally the nicest guy in Madden. He was the epitome of sportsmanship. A die hard Titans fan. He never had anything bad to say about anyone.”

Robertson was close with members of the Madden development team, with his likeness making its way into the game as a coach. Former series creative director Rex Dickson shared a note he received from Robertson, who thanked him for his contributions to the franchise upon his departure in May.

“I love you brother @spotmeplzzz,” Dickson wrote. “This meant so much to me, I wish I had the words.”

Robertson was a faithful Tennessee Titans fan, often representing the team on the Madden circuit. The club expressed its condolences on Twitter today.

“The #Titans community lost a beloved member over the weekend,” the team wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Taylor Robertson (@spotmeplzzz). Taylor was a husband, father and passionate Titans fan who represented us honorably each time he competed. #TitanUp

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • Insomniac Games - Spider-Man

    Sony Is Acquiring Insomniac Games, Studio Behind 'Spider-Man' for PS4

    Sony Interactive Entertainment clinched a deal to acquire longtime PlayStation games developer Insomniac Games in its entirety, the company announced Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed “due to contractual commitments,” according to Sony. Insomniac Games is the developer of PlayStation 4’s top-selling “Marvel’s Spider-Man” and other PS games, including the “Ratchet & [...]

  • westworld awakening art

    HBO Launches 'Westworld Awakening' VR Game With Survios

    Ever wanted to enter the world of “Westworld?” Now you can — except it won’t exactly be like you might have imagined it. Instead of being one of those guests living out their fantasies, you will be a host, slowly coming to grips with your life being an elaborate illusion. “Westworld Awakening” has been produced [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content