Unpopular view – I want international e-sports to be free of politics, this is why

starcraft 9 - Unpopular view - I want international e-sports to be free of politics, this is why

The olympics is an example of a place where politics is not allowed by convention and mutual agreement, and for good reason. Keeping politics out of competitive world arena sports is a good thing, it is a big part of what makes it inclusive. This principle has been successful for a long time. Remember what sports meant during the cold war (if not, look it up). E-sports, and its players, has a lot to learn from conventional sports in this case.

Blizzard probably did not explain their reasons well enough here. And what an appropriate sanction would be is highly debateable. If you want to rip them for that be my guest. But if their resoning is that they want high level e-sport events to remain a neutral ground for players from all parts of the world to join and have politics set aside for a day just to enjoy and share the game and competition at the highest possible level – instead of having that arena continously exploited for political drama – then I side with them on this one.

Please keep in mind what actually happened that triggered this. This player was interviewed in a post-match interview during a competitive event hosted by Blizzard. On live stream the player pulls up a mask, starts chanting slogans etc when the two casters are trying to interview him about the match. (

There is a place for human rights – and my god, I want Chinese authoritarianism to burn in hell – but that place is NOT in a post-match interview. That is exploiting the integrity of the game, an international competitive event, for political drama. This in my view is what should be stopped. There are plenty of opportunities to voice your political view of any topic, a post-game interview is not the place for that. This player could have made his views known outside of a tournament post-match interview, he chose not to.


Why was this a breach of competitive integrity?

1) To participate in a competitive e-sports event there are rules for participation that any competitor needs to agree to. These rules were violated, which is also clearly mentioned in Blizzard'd statement. If you don't like those rules then don't compete.

2) A post-game interview is for the fans of the game, not for the player. In this case the player made the interview about himself and his political agenda.

As deeply as I sympathize with human rights and free speech – and goddamn I do – I do not believe allowing something like this to happen again is in the best interest of SC2 or e-sports at large in the long run.

I want e-sports to be a place where also ideological enemies can use competition and passion for a game as a common ground that we all can share in as part of the human experience. Lets keep politics out of e-sports.

ps. Yes, I am aware of the Black Panthers in the 60s olympics. It was non-verbal and a long time ago, and stood out at the time. It has not been followed much since. The principle I outline above still stands, has stood the test of time and served us well.

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