Esports continues to grow in popularity around the world, but professional standards in broadcasting seem to have some catching up to do. During the CS:GO Perfect World Asia League Summer 2020, Invictus Gaming player DeStRoYeR was using a borrowed skin on his knife weapon with the phrase “LGBT Slayer” written on the handle.
During a match against the team Mongolians, commentary Jason Kaplan took note of the label, and tweeted the below screenshot of the skin. Surprising no one, the tweet quickly gained steam online and drew massive condemnation with many calling for severe punishments for displaying such a message. Soon the skin was swapped out, but the damage was done.
What is most surprising since the incident occurred is the complete silence from both teams on the matter. Kaplan and other panelists went on to speculate that the incident may have been completely accidental, stating that perhaps since the player is Chinese, he may not understand what the words mean in English. Even so, the lack of formal response on such a delicate matter by either the player or Invictus Gaming does nothing to help the situation.
If eSports is to grow both in scope and popularity, these kinds of sub-par professional standards cannot be tolerated, and there needs to be a dialogue to hold individuals accountable to have a clear message. As it stands, one could argue that Invictus Gaming is indeed against LTBTQ+ rights, since they have not bothered to clarify the statement made with the knife during a competitive event.
Kaplan tweeted again later once again, this time stating that the skin was borrowed and will no longer see use. This should be obvious, as once again the damage is done. With eSports growing steadily year after year, it is surprising to see that there are no checks in place for custom skins that can cause irreversible damage to the brand or to an organization. It seems like future competitive events now need to have someone do a check of the weapon skins that players will be using, though this seems ridiculous in its own right.
These are professional players of the highest caliber, and as competitors facing off to be considered among the best in the world, they should know that their behavior will be scrutinized far more than a casual player.
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