ByWalter Sosa, writer at
Managing Director: eSportsRDA. I like food and good screenplays. I don't hold my tongue, sorry mom. Inquiries [email protected]
Walter Sosa

Today in CS News, Sam "DaZeD" Marine appeared as a guest analyst for the ESL-ESEA Pro League tonight to remarkable reception. Initially announced on September 14, to the surprise of many by John "BLU" Mullen, current caster for the NA vertical of the Pro League. ESL, out of everyone, such a questionable decision.. isn't ESL the teacher's (Valve's) pet?

BLU announces guest appearance
BLU announces guest appearance

An unprecedented move indicative of shifting authorities and decisions over to those that are ultimately in charge. For a non-eSports company to go against the wishes of Valve is one thing.. But for ESL, a company with a healthy and a tenured business relationship with Valve, almost feels like a dog biting the hand that feeds it.

To allow DaZeD to join the broadcast team as an analyst during a live broadcast in a role that Valve mentioned banned players should refrain from holding is game changing. Was Valve aware? Did ESL get approval? Did ESL just start a chain reaction?

The dilemma

The original document reaffirms their stance on interacting with teams. It doesn't explicitly mention any banned players from taking up the helm in production or talent for tournaments, leagues, and other eSports productions. Initially brought up after concerns of banned players (swag, dazed, steel) were allegedly secretly working for NA organizations as players, coaches, and analysts.

After that tournaments and other productions refrained from hosting these individuals, making it clear that they were following suit.

For ESL to openly welcome DaZeD, it will open up an avenue for other tournaments to follow a company at the forefront of eSports. At the time of publication, no news has been published in a press release or a response regarding the participation of DaZeD from ESL or Valve.

Chances are we'll never see a public statement. I can imagine the great reception will incentivize ESL to keep DaZeD on for more broadcasts freelance or permanently. In the vertical of broadcast talent, CS is so large that talent can be recycled over and over and there will still be room for new talent to cultivate a following. It'll be hard for ESL to refuse his creative genius. DaZeD is a talented individual, skilled in mechanical play, analyzing plays and breaking it down in an detailed and relatable fashion.

Why was their ban so severe to begin with

With new associations and unions popping up, and WESA announcing their newly-minted players council, new and old topics will be brought up in their agenda.. including banned players, the regulations and procedures behind it that affect the eSports ecosystem.

Many leagues across the board ran by a third-party or publisher has rules and bylaws explaining the process of a ban, suspension, fines and so forth. Riot operated LCS has ruled that dictate punishments and are handled justly (debatable) for the most part of their mission to create a new and better standard for transparency and competitive integrity. Valve in the other hand has nothing like that, they ban players and teams depending on situations with no consistent precedent.

Lets say player A got banned in Dota 2 for match fixing receiving a 6 month ban, and player B got banned in CS:GO for match fixing, they would get 6 months as per precedent? Wrong.

Depends, of course context matters, the earnings, amount of deception, fraudulent acts, people involved and so forth. I wish I could sit here and tell you why it's like that, but lets compare murder in the second degree to murder in the first degree.

Murder in the second degree

The typical charge for someone who killed someone in a fuel of rage, considered a crime within the heat of the moment. Let's say you're in a bar and someone punches you. You defend yourself to the point where you've unreasonable defended yourself and now you're considered the attacker (aggressor). The person dies and you immediately feel like an asshole for killing a man out of rage.

Murder in the first degree

The typical charge for someone who killed someone in a planned murder, i.e. not considered a crime of passion. Let's say your wife is unfaithful (she sucks), she cheats on you and you catch her in the act. Instead of killing the man or your wife on the spot you leave to calm down. Things get weird between you and your estranged wife. You want a divorce, shit gets really complicated.

You then snap and start following her around to see if she's still seeing him. You purchase a gun and stalk her moves, calculating and planning out a scheme to murder her with him. You create a plan to kill her when they're both together. You meticulously catch them in the act and baam baam -- they're dead. Your premeditated intent is enough to convict you of a higher caliber charge, murder in the first degree.

Wow that got dark.. *sighs*'

The point is, we don't know all the facts around their (IBP-NCG match fix) case. We do know some denying was involved, we don't know to what extent, we don't know what they did to try to hide their actions, we truly don't know. That's why this situation gets really confusing. DaZeD is clearly trying to get his professional foot in the door but can be hindered by Valve at any moment if they choose to assert their power as the publisher of CS:GO.

Until we get some transparency from Valve when it comes up to their bans, we will forever sit here and ask.. "why are they still banned?"

DaZeD will be the poster-boy for others.. and someone will capitalize on it

This is all speculation. Take what I say with a grain of salt. WESA is a huge ESL partner, a majority of the board members are close partners or ESL-employed. The formed player council is compiled of working professionals and players in eSports who aggressively support an unban of CS:GO players who match-fixed and cheated a long time ago.

I'm a personal believer in rehabilitation. People can change if you truly facilitate their growth. I believe DaZeD & Co. Should be unbanned if they meet a specific criteria, regulated, and enforced by a council or a board orchestrated by Valve and players, professionals and outside (non-eSports) members. A truly ethical and neutral board that will decide their fates.

In the mean time I feel like WESA is pulling some strings to one-up PEA, and to fulfill some agendas even though its masked by an illusion of diversity. It's clear I'm not the biggest fan of WESA, because it's simply another title for the ESL brand and you're damn right I'll stick with my stance. Until I see more non-ESL governance I'll continue to believe what I believe. My personal opinion aside, this is another opportunity for DaZeD and I can whole heartedly agree he deserves it.

I wrote a topic outlining tournament organizers decisions and how important they are for the growth of eSports. A more transparent, organized, and professional industry tackling on cronyism, deceptive practices, and lack of regulatory oversight. With this move, it'll affect the meta of who is allowed and why.. The power is restored to someone who initially needed it, not an outside party like Valve.

Tournaments should say, "OK, we want THIS guy as a player, talent, or support staff" without fearing the ramifications from Valve, partners, sponsors or the community. At the end of the day they will always be branded for their past, it's how the internet works -- however, it's unfair to restrict them time and time again when clear progress is being made, at least for DaZeD which is why I am focusing on him.. And clearly others are too.

A surprise to all?

ESL talent surprised
ESL talent surprised

Pansy, and Moses responded like the many, happy, but very surprised. Was this a trick, a really early Aprils fool joke? For people to react this way is common. We're not used to things being out of the norm, we haven't just unveiled banned players in a capacity that was frowned upon. It's a good surprise, it has people talking and for many, DaZeD has grown from a prominent NA figure, to a raging streamer, to a reformed streamer gone professional analyst.

Sounds like a hero story in the making? Abso-fucking-lutely -- this is the beginning of something new, something so monumental, we'll probably create a fucking holiday around it. *Hands Out Balloons*

Now people are wondering why I brought up fxy0, he recently released a video that had everyone talking about an unban. Unfortunately, in the world of eSports and news in general, we receive so much we have a tendency of forgetting about it or having it pushed aside for the next tidbits of news coming out. Many saw his story and felt sorry for him, wanting to see some update to his case.

Here comes DaZeD. A similar case, but he won't be forgotten, he'll be a walking, talking reminder that he's still banned and Valve isn't stepping in to change it anytime soon. Synonymous to change, a resonating story ironically fielded by Valve's biggest partner, ESL..


I run an eSports consultancy. I write my thoughts here and there. Want to follow me for updates or recommend a topic? Follow and tweet @MellowWalt. Got a business inquiry? [email protected]


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