Esports continues to pay lip service on inclusivity and integrity

Kick It Out! goes the campaign, as professional football claims to be cleaning up its act, and trying to stamp out racism in football. However, if you look behind the brave words and colourful logos, you’ll see that the some of the people protesting against racism are still being given bigger fines than the racists, for one reason. It’s easier to pay lip service to an idea for good PR than it is to actually commit to improving conditions for everyone, especially if you’re part of the everyone who is already OK.

Sadly, the same is true in a lot of esports, where an issue will raise its head, be resolved, and nothing more will happen to get to the root of the problem. We’ve seen it with conflict of interest in CSGO, where the owners of Na’Vi and SK were made to sell, but now we have Astralis and Blast Pro Series, and we’ve seen in in Dota where kuku and skem were hung out to dry for racism, because they offended the wrong people, while iceiceice is fine to keep playing.

For another example, this week saw a Smash Bros player called Charlie ‘AbsentPage’ McKinley banned from a number of events due to a tweet posted by the Fox main, which was obviously unacceptable. Now deleted, and posted in the middle of what appeared to be a minor breakdown, he tweeted that famous Melee player Jason ‘Mew2King’ Zimmerman ‘needs to die’, most likely in relation to the theory that AbsentPage was inspired by M2K.

Amateurish inconsistency

Nevertheless, such a statement has to be taken seriously, especially if it comes from someone who appears to be in the midst of a religious episode, and those events were right to ban AbsentPage. However, their actions are totally inconsistent with their stated philosophy that players should always be safe, and the hypocrisy of the AbsentPage situation was made even more obvious on Wednesday.

Bronson ‘DaShizWiz’ Layton was one of the best Falco players in North America over a decade ago, but his place in history is mainly as a victim of one of the gods. The aforementioned M2K once faced off vs Shiz in a game that many thought would be close, and was until M2K decided to try, at which point he destroyed the Falco in a style that is still thrilling to this day. As a result, Shiz has a cult following, which even allowed him to enter the Summit voting last year, and gain entry to the event.

The Smash scene is currently up in arms about the above tweet, posted to Shiz’s Twitter account. It should be said before we go further than Shiz, along with a few other Smash players, also thinks he is a rapper of sorts, and may be posting what he considers lyrics. However, a look at his account shows he also believes, due to his religion, that homosexuality is "bad" and should not be allowed, or something. The usual religious delusion.

As a result, people would like to maybe ban him from events, as it is obviously not very welcoming to any LGBT folk to run into backward bigots while you’re out for some Melee. Prior to this, though, he was welcome at Summit and everywhere else, despite a long history of violence, not only within the scene, but to the degree where he spent time in jail. Some players even tried to point this out in 2017, but nothing came of it, and he was welcomed back regardless of his past.

As you can see, there is a large degree of inconsistency that makes the entire scene look amateurish, and that reflects on esports overall. The same goes when Samsung play Samsung in LoL, or Valve looks the other way as a Dota pro says he hates that his name sounds like a "black guy’s name", or worse, or Astralis win a Blast Pro event. We can be better than sport if we want, but right now all esports does is pay lip service to the idea of inclusivity and integrity, while secretly doing the bare minimum.

Image: DaShizWiz