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Collateral damage

in glhf

From Chobo and reddit earlier this week:

There’s a debate going on about whether or not it is okay to complain to sponsors if you do not like what you see from someone they sponsor — for instance, if you do not like seeing words like nigger, gook and faggot tossed around ad nauseum.

One side, the particularly vocal side, has said that emailing the sponsors hurts esports overall. You shouldn’t do that. Esports needs that money and by complaining, you take the money away from esports. This side places the blame largely on the complainers

This is indicative of a warped set of priorities from a certain parts of the esports community and industry.

It is to be expected from the industry. Expect individuals with a financial stake to say ‘no, you shouldn’t contact the sponsors’ because they’d be the first feel the hurt. It’s dirty and it makes my skin crawl but it’s something that we easily can see through.

We do not need to expect this from the community. The community has bought, hook, line and sinker, the idea that we must advance esports above all else, the idea that esports is this intrinsically benevolent force in the world.

Reality check. Esports is not intrinsically good or bad, that comes from the environment it produces. If it becomes an environment where people toss nigger, faggot and gook around on a regular basis then I don’t want it to advance on its current path. Send out the emails, put on the pressure and make it known that we need to change.

Stopping hateful language is so, so much more important than advancing esports. How did we lose sight of that?

I didn’t send those emails but so what if I did? I’ve made known that I am thoroughly repulsed by the casual use of that language in corners of this community and that I think it is incredibly destructive on a much wider scale than esports touches.

I didn’t send those emails but to those who did, good for you. We should make the moneyed interests aware that we won’t put up with hate in our community. No matter how agile the verbal acrobatics to get out of it, that’s what it comes down to. Hateful language begets hate. If that’s what esports is about, it’s not worth advancing an inch.

A quick blurb about one way the language is harmful

Throw away account obviously —

So I’ll admit, I was one of the people to contact the GESL (I would never contact the sponsors directly) to share with them that I would be boycotting their event and sponsors if Steven would cast.

Though I would rather not go into what heritage I share, the words Steven claim to be harmless are actually extremely hateful and extremely powerful. I know this from experience. I know this from the times I have been physically beat by my peers while these words were said. I know this from events I’ve been forced to experience.

For someone — anyone — to say these words are harmless means they are either uneducated or a bigot. I don’t think Steven is a stupid person. He knows what these words mean but continues to use them to to create controversy around himself to keep himself in the spot light. With this in mind, there is no way I could support any type of company or organization that gives him any platform to spread this hate.

To his fans – I’m truly sorry Steven will not be casting but I hope in the long run you realize that Steven is not the type of person we should be supporting in our community. As a community we destroyed Orb’s career in 48 hours for using this language, but we continue to support Steven. I hope you take a moment to think about other peoples experiences and how these words don’t just mean hate in a linguistic sense, but how these words breed hate.

To Chobo – Thank you! Thank you for taking the time to comment on something that others seem to be too afraid to say. This language should not be accepted in ANY community. I hope others will follow in your path of standing up against racism and bigotry. You have earned a new fan. Thanks again for restoring some of my hope towards humanity. :)

Attributable to incontrol:

It isn’t a fucking community that on a large scale supports or condones hate speech. Few individuals use it and what NOBODY is saying is to ignore those people or be “ok with it” (outside of destiny). What people are saying is there are good ways and bad ways to punish said actions and contacting sponsors in this current market economy/development for eSports is a bad idea.. how dare you assume that the only reason this is said is because those that say it stand to lose something NO FUCKING WAY? THOSE PEOPLE WANT TO PROTECT THEIR LIVELIHOOD? You are a good journalist but you are being a fucking twat about this. Put your latte down and get out of your bedroom for a second.. there are people that depend on this community and the sponsors to support their lives. If that means we punish the individuals that want to spread hate speech in an appropriate way like actively boycotting their streams, telling their teams you won’t support them as well and lobbying for change WITHOUT causing harm to those that have done NOTHING wrong then great.. we are on the right path. If people want to say “eSports depends on this” then who the fuck are you to get all angsty and try to down talk and belittle said people? There is a hell of a lot more going into this than “I want my monies” man.. I’ve worked hard to grow this shit and make it more accessible for more people and make it support more people I’d hate it if this was taken from me and the rest NOT because I want to make a buck (Who the FUCK is in eSports to make money?) but because this is what I’ve done with my life for the last 14 years. God DAMN you are going to wake the demons in me.

Oh fuck, the demons, we’re scared…? Are you gonna punch Chobo out at the next event?

Let me put my latte down for a second. We’re talking about you pulling rank (fourteen years) to argue appropriate rules of engagement with community members who act inappropriately, because we need to be delicate and show restraint in the face of indelicate unrestrained social fouls. Wanted to get that right before going further.

We’re also talking about not taking principled stands against bigoted garbage in the name of protecting financial esports interests in one breath, and then postulating that everyone is in esports is just here for the love of the games and the community, and money is just secondary.

But wait: “who the fuck is in esports to make money”? Really? These guys. This guy. These guys. This guy was, but he fucked up. This guy fucked up, had an expose written about it, and is still around. If you’re running a team and you’re not actually trying to make money (yours included), what the hell are you doing? Shall I keep going?

I mean, I’m sure that wasn’t all meant to be contradictory, but it did read that way. Don’t worry, I won’t bother Kim Rom on twitter about it.

Anyway, using hateful speech is a risk – whether directly at someone with specific intent; or casually, indirectly, over a gaming stream; or in what was thought was an innocuous setting but actually wasn’t. It’s a significantly large risk around esports because here we’re generally surrounded with younger, more educated, more (small-‘l’) liberal-minded folks than the national average (anecdotally speaking). Never mind whether you think this stuff is no big deal or not, for many esports followers, it’s a clearly a big deal. Reddit hivemind plays very little part in the defining principles behind these ordeals. We don’t want to leave it to chance that such behavior could somehow be used as a rubber stamp on the whole scene.

Did we really watch that whole Cross Counter thing go down and not take away any lessons?

When you decide to take that risk, you don’t get to decide the timing, form, or severity of the resulting consequences; you hand all that over when you let fly whatever you let fly. It is quite literally a blank check on your hopes and dreams if you’re in any way a public figure, and when you’re a top-level pro player or talking head, well you’re a public figure around these parts.

It’s the court of public opinion, and there’s no statute of limitations or maximum sentence guidelines. Thinking such things can be defined just because it’s esports is ridiculous.

Remember Michael Vick? That dogfighting shit is going to follow him -wherever- he goes for the rest of his career. There will be some people that will never let up against him, the teams that hire him, and the sponsors of the teams that hire him, as long as he’s still in the league.

Is that fair? Maybe so, maybe not. Did it cause measurable damage to Vick’s fiscal health? You’re fuckin’ right it did. Dude declared bankruptcy. Did it cause damage to the finances of the league, the team he played for, and his teammates due to bad press, pressure on sponsors from activist groups and pissed off fans, and reduced ticket sales? Very possible.

That’s the reality of being a professional in a fan-driven industry. Your fans have sway, and you have no reasonable expectations on their course of action once you cock up. Draw their ire at your own peril, your team’s peril, and your league’s peril.

You have no idea what the result is going to be, and you cannot blame your fans for collateral damage incurred because of your stupid ass, or your colleagues’ stupid asses. If the principle of advancing esports at any and all costs – because that’s the view I’m arguing against here – ranks above other principles more along the lines of treating fellow humans like fellow humans, then be prepared to incur a lot of collateral damage.

Welcome to the mainstream?