Kuku and Skem: Dota 2 racism scandal reveals vacuum of power

Dota 2

The Chinese Dota 2 situation can’t have escaped your notice by now, if you’re in any way involved in esports. For those who love the MOBA, it’s a massive and potentially devastating development in the scene, which China contributes so very much to and even folk not directly involved with the game felt the ripples across their bows.

Opinions are slightly divided, as is normally the case in these situations, but it’s 2018 and, thankfully, the number of deep thinkers defending the use of racist language as "freedom of speech" is dropping, at least where you notice. The vast majority agree the pejorative is a bad look, and there is no real excuse, with the punishment being the more controversial facet of this situation.

Update: Valve confirms Kuku is banned from the Major

For those not aware, the initial punishments handed down by the teams, deemed sufficient by Valve at least, were not enough to placate the anger from within the Chinese scene, and ‘government’ officials stepped in.

The publishers apparently clarified that they would only intervene if the teams didn’t take action, but that wasn’t enough to see the matter closed in the eyes of the Chongqing Municipal Government, according to the tweet below posted by Forward’s manager Jack ‘KBBQ’ Chen.

You can read a more detailed breakdown of what went back and forth between Valve and various others here, and what was said, but the long and the short of it appears to be that two players have now been banned from entering the nation by the Chongqing Municipal Government, which obviously means they won’t be able to play at Chongqing, should their teams qualify.

While it is not correct to assume that esports can always learn from sport, on this occasion there is an opportunity to not just learn from the biggest game on earth, but improve on their work. Football already has a very admirable and sensible prohibition against government involvement in the sport, which has led to a number of sanctions down the years, but as is so often the FIFA way the rules are good, but the execution is not.

There should never be government interference in any esports decision

Ironically, in football it is also China that is seeking to flex and circumvent the laws and, because of the nature of FIFA it is currently getting away with it, at least according to Forbes. However, Valve doesn’t have to make the same mistakes as the oleaginous cretins that occupy the highest positions in bodies such as FIFA, UEFA and the IOC, and can instead take a stand related to the game they own.

Simply put, until the point where a person has a criminal record that would bar them from entry anyway, there should never be government interference in any esports decision, and any nation that makes it impossible for a player to compete should be struck from the list of potential hosts. Once again, this seems to be a case of the power vacuum created by Valve’s absent parenting backfiring on players, which should never be the case.

Even if Skem and Kuku fail to qualify for Valve’s Chinese Major, and it goes ahead without another mention of their names, this affair is already a black mark on the company’s generally good name and sets a dangerous precedent for future capitulation. With nations like Russia and the US so prevalent in esports and currently sporting lunatic leaders, the problem will get worse, rather than better, if Valve fail to demonstrate the minimum level of backbone required in 2018.

Tim MastersTim joined Luckbox as an editor this year, having previously spent time at GosuGamers, EsportsHeaven and other sites. He currently is not at his desk.

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