The Issue With Professionalism in Esports

In Esports by Byron1 Comment

I’d like to start this off with a couple questions.

Do you believe that esports should be considered sports? Do you believe that esports should be seen as professional and taken seriously?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, then we have some things to discuss. Namely, the lack of professionalism shown by many professional esports players. Specifically focusing on the Overwatch League, xQc is probably the first person you’d think of when it comes to toxicity and unprofessional behavior among pros, and for good reason. He was banned for throwing and toxicity in 2017, and recently made a homophobic remark about Muma, another pro who plays tank for the Houston Outlaws. While xQc has been fined and suspended for this, and both xQc and Muma have apologized to each other, I think this ordeal underlines up a very important issue.

These pros are no longer just streaming and playing for the sake of playing. They are public figures, representing teams, cities, brands, and the entire Overwatch League and community as a whole. There’s a certain degree of respect and tact that must come with such a platform, and a sizable few of these players are missing that.

Yes, they are all young, but they are also all adults. They have entered a professional space and must conduct themselves as such, in-game and out. This is no longer just a video game; it is their job. Their source of income.

Consider professional football, for example. Let’s say Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, was to call every team they lost to “trash.” Imagine if he raged and threw games, made racist/homophobic remarks, etc. Even though he’s arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, he would be dropped in an instant and fined substantially. Public image is nearly as important as player skill when you have significant influence, which is why there is outrage when Jake “teabags” a player after a kill, or xQc or Taimou make toxic remarks on their personal streams.

There will always be toxicity in competitive gaming, unfortunately, but to give it the spotlight among what are supposed to be the best and brightest of us gamers is unacceptable. These pros represent us and many others, and they should strive to put their best foot forward when in front of the camera. It seems the Overwatch League is on the right track with this as it’s keeping up with punishments, and for that I am thankful. I just hope this trend starts to extend towards other professional gaming leagues and events.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Byron
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A 20-year-old gamer and boxer based out of Albuquerque, NM. Also a fan of comic books, pro wrestling, and martial arts. I spend a lot of time hanging around retro game stores, and taking pictures wearing various video game related hats.

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I was thinking similarly the other day. but more towards gamer handles and team names. While there are the profession eSport brands which are fine. Particularly in Rocket League I have noticed some ragtag quickly put together teams which have essentially a throwaway name. or something that feel so inappropriate in the pro scene.

As eSports is coming into it’s own as a profession. I feel that event organisers need to have more strict naming policy when it comes to team names and player handles. XxRIGGERxX is not really a professional handle. For this to happen more developers need to head toward not using a handle as an accounts unique identifier so Something like battle.net or steam accounts have.