A call for greater unity and support in esports in 2020

Let’s leave insults at the door and think about how we can be more open and forgiving going into 2020, so we can grow this scene better together, says Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco in his New Year’s comment

Esports News UK was blacklisted by someone earlier this year. This meant less access to them, no comments and months of me questioning my actions, not to mention enjoying my work less.

It was over a couple of comments I made which resulted in a disagreement and misunderstanding – and I regret the outcome following what happened.

You might be thinking: so what? It happens. And you’d be right, it’s the nature of running a news site. Your work will at times be useful to people and taken well, at other times it won’t. You will annoy, anger and upset people, as well as inform and enlighten others. You take the good with the bad.

I’ve annoyed companies for writing about subjects they didn’t like or didn’t want made public.

But I’ve continued, I’ve still written about them, covering both the positive and the negative. I’ve always tried to be fair.

I eventually made peace with those who blacklisted me and was removed from said blacklist.

But it was them who first reached out to me to resolve it, not the other way around. I am stubborn and at times proud.

So can I do more? Absolutely. And I think that will probably be one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 – to be more open and forgiving and to give people a second chance.

That’s the point I’m trying to make here. Enough about me. There is still a lot of toxicity, hate and animosity in esports, including the UK scene.

Orgs shitting on other orgs, people working in esports being abusive to others, or just taking sides without being objective.

So what, you might be thinking again. It’s human nature, right? You will get along with some people and others you won’t. It can be natural to take sides, especially in an area where tribalism is celebrated.

But entertaining banter between Fnatic and Excel for example is completely different to some of the nastiness I’ve seen in esports in the four years I’ve been running this site. It’s not always nastiness (and don’t get me wrong, I’m an advocate of free speech and being able to share an opinion), sometimes it’s arrogance that can rub people up the wrong way, or unfair or unjust comments, or even just negativity that can create a ripple effect across the scene, knocking someone’s optimism or self-belief.

In an industry that is so volatile, those qualities are so vital. We need them to create the next Fnatic or Excel, to foster the next Ryan Hart or the next Redeye.

“My New Year’s Resolution is to be more open to people, more forgiving, to be willing to give someone a second chance. To hear them out before casting judgement. I think if more people did that in UK esports, we’d have greater togetherness, a more united scene – and a more successful one too.”

When we do encourage one another, instead of shitting on one another, we can create some great things together. So let’s support, not shame. Let’s pat each other on the back when we do well, or pick someone up when they fail. Let’s encourage newcomers into the scene, let’s educate them together.

For example, I love how the UK League of Legends scene rallies around one or two organisations that qualify for the EU Masters. For a short moment, we become one, we forget our local rivalries or differences, and the #TeamUK hashtag gets used as we support a common goal.

It’s like being a Man U fan and hating City or Liverpool. When the best English players from those clubs play for England in the World Cup, together, any banter or insults stop – and again we can do great things (like almost winning the damn thing).

Look, I know this article might come across a bit waffley (my excuse is I am stuck indoors on New Year’s Eve with my newborns and they’re asleep right now, so I have a rare moment to type this stream of consciousness, so go easy on me okay)! It might come across holier-than-thou or make you want to gag, that’s not my intention. I’m certainly no saint.

All I’m asking is the next time someone in esports pisses you off, instead of berating them, getting into a public argument or even just ignoring them, why not chuck them a DM instead? Be civil, be an adult, express your views and talk through it together. Ask them how they are. They might just be having an off day.

Firing insults, spreading misinformation or not talking through a problem doesn’t get us anywhere, it can just make things worse (I have been ghosted before and found it extremely difficult to deal with).

I can’t tell you what to do. You’re you and you’ll obviously do what you think is right.

But for me, my New Year’s Resolution is to be more open to people, more forgiving, to be willing to give someone a second chance. To hear them out before casting judgement. I think if more people did that in UK esports, we’d have greater togetherness, a more united scene – and a more successful one too.

(This doesn’t mean I won’t write about something negative, especially if it’s newsworthy! But there is always a chance for redemption.)

That’s my resolution anyway. What’s yours? I’d love to hear your views on this on Twitter or in the comments below.

Lastly, I wish you all a very happy new year, all the best for 2020 and as always, thanks for reading. Let’s hope esports has some great developments and stories in store for us in 2020 and beyond, and that we can all grow it – together.

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