IT WAS SUPPOSED to be the CIS (now called Eastern Europe) region’s big return to the DPC after Valve cancelled the regular DPC Tour II. But the EEU’s round-robin tournament became a hotbed for issues Saturday morning after tournament organizer Beyond the Summit disqualified Outsiders (Virtus Pro) after a player drew a pro-Russian military symbol on the map.
During an early pause in Game 1 against Team Mind Games, Outsiders carry Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko drew a letter Z in the mini-map. It was initially ignored, with Outsiders winning the series 2-0. However, BTS founder David “Godz” Parker tweeted a statement that they are communicating with Valve about the incident.
The letter Z, while not found in Russia's Cyrillic alphabet, recently gained traction in Russia as the symbol celebrating their army in its aggression toward Ukraine.
Valve has already banned several Russian esports organizations from competing in Valve sanctioned events. It was this reason why VP has to play the EEU DPC under the banner Outsiders.
It was Saturday afternoon (Manila time) when BTS announced that Outsiders have been disqualified from the tournament.
Prior to the disqualification, Pure had already aired his side of the story in an apology video posted on VP’s Twitter. According to the 18-year-old carry, it was unintentional, and only after he doodled did he realize what he had drawn and what it meant.
Following the disqualification, VP has announced that they terminated Pure’s contract with the team. The team further elaborated on their commitment to oppose any cases of inciting hatred in esports.
They also revealed that they have communicated with both BTS and Valve during the investigation and that the final decision was left to the Seattle-based publisher. The statement further noted how the team was shocked by the severity of the punishment, which they claimed was unprecedented.
While this was the first time Valve disqualified a team for an incident similar to hate speech. It isn’t the only one as TNC’s former analyst Murielle “Kips” Huisman reminded everyone.
T1’s captain Carlos “Kuku” Palad was banned from attending the 2018 Chongqing major in China after he typed a slur during a pub match. He was also likewise penalized by his former org TNC Predator for the incident. Valve has also banned other players from toxicity in pub games.
The esports world during the Ukraine war
As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, esports athletes and figures have been doing their small part to aid displaced Ukrainians and the many other victims of war. Most notable has been the charity streams dedicated to raise money for Ukrainian aid. Teams like TSM FTX’s Dota 2 team had also donated to the cause, giving their recent winnings from Gamers Galaxy to CARE.
Meanwhile, several Russian esports organizations, like TI champs Team Spirit, have decided to temporarily relocate to the neutral grounds like Serbia.