The story is widely known, of course, but Valve now infamously banned Dazed, Joshua “Steel” Nissan, Keven “AZK” Larivière and Braxton “swag” Pierce from all Valve sponsored events for match fixing in January 2015, bans that would a year later become permanent. The ban was delivered after Richard Lewis published a report about iBUYPOWER fixing a match in CEVO Season 5 against NetCodeGuides.com. The players weren’t banned from competing in non-Valve sponsored tournaments, but many tournament organizers followed suit and disallowed the players.
In his video, Dazed explained the ESL held two players meetings to discuss the match fixing players and if they should be allowed to play in ESL tournaments. Dazed revealed the players voted unanimously to unban the players and revise the current rule.
That sounds like a sigh of relief for fans of the players, but it came with a frustrating kicker: Dazed said that he has never been in contact with anyone from ESL regarding the issue, which continues a bogus trend over the years.
Whether you feel the players should remain banned or not, the lack of communication involving the players has been atrocious. Each and every time news has broken about the banned players, they find out at the same time the community does, and that’s not right. For two and a half years, they have learned their fate through a press release or a blog. Valve didn’t give them the private conversation they deserved. ESL scheduled a players meeting, tweeted about the meeting and held the meeting. If this topic was up for negotiation, why didn’t anyone from ESL meet with the banned players, or at least let them know the topic was going to be discussed? Leaving them in the dark is unfair and disrespectful. Imagine if you found out you were guilty for a crime through a public intercom system rather than a hearing in court, and on top of that, your parole hearing took place while you sat in your cell.
Most people tend to focus on the actions of the players and forget the context in which the match fixing occurred. Nothing excuses the act itself. It was wrong. But the situation should be considered. Valve, ESEA, CEVO and many other organizers allowed rampant underaged gambling and ignored related DDOS attacks happening to players who lived at home with their families. As long as those organizers were growing their brand and pocket, they couldn’t have cared less about the more serious issues. Match fixing is absolutely unethical, but these players are human beings and have always deserved a 1-on-1 conversation if nothing else. The players should have been contacted the day ESL announced a possible revision of the rules. And if there is a change, the players should find out about it before everyone else.