photo by: StarLadder
Another toxic pub game witnessed a professional player, this time a TI Champion, a captain and a former coach praised for his social skills and motivational speeches delivered to his team, who gets involved and ends up throwing racist comments.
Sébastien “Ceb” Debs, TI8 Champion with OG, vented his frustration in a pub game yesterday and he got exposed on Reddit for his words. The player who seems to have triggered Ceb in the first place took in-game screenshots of the entire chat conversation with the TI winner and posted them on Reddit along with his own version of the whole story. According to him, Ceb started to be toxic and make racist remarks towards the Russian people after a quarrel over who should pick the Aegis from a Roshan kill. The Storm Spirit player wanted the Aegis for himself and according to him he “warned Ceb that he needs it,” but Ceb picked it up anyways and died twice a few minutes later, thus wasting it in the Storm Spirit players’ eyes.
Ceb immediately replied on the Reddit post and apart from apologizing for his words, he also gave his side of the story.
Before we dive into details here are screenshots of the entire chat conversation between the Ceb and the Storm Spirit player.
Ceb’s reply on Reddit:
A few hours later, Alexei “Solo” Berezin took a rather radical stand on VK.com
“I would like to share my personal opinion on the situation that happened with Ceb yesterday and his apology that followed up a bit later.
Russian whores who would sell their mothers for MMR. That’s not the kind of stuff you say even if you get frustrated. Schizophrenic animals from Russia. Third world dogs.
You simply can’t say these things no matter what caused them. I am proud to be Russian and your words leave me speechless. You’re not some young player who can do careless stuff because he might not understand the consequences. You’ve been in this game since the very start, you’ve earned a lot of respect and it makes the situation even worse.
If the best players in the world do those things, what do we expect from our community? Kuku made his mistake and was banned for a far less insulting stuff, so if we really want to get rid of this racist shit in our game, I think it’s time for Valve to act. I was on vacation when Mind Control pulled his Hitler shit last year and did not react properly, so now we have another example. I’ve done my mistakes in the past and took my punishment, but kept loyal to the game. I think I’ve earned the right to speak on behalf of our community and demand justice. Otherwise it’s all hypocrisy and double standards.
I won’t be participating at the upcoming Epicenter Major that will be played in my home country unless Valve openly speaks about this case and ensures consistency and transparency when it comes to treating racism in our game.”
Concluding that Ceb is a racist at core judging from the screenshots alone looks pretty shady. He clearly explains in his Reddit reply that the use of the plural “Russians” was not aimed at the nation but rather at the two Russian players ruining the game. That does not absolve in any shape or form his conduct, but it does show that most knee jerk reactions are nothing more than biased text analyses.
Talking about precedents, both Ceb and Mind Control got obviously frustrated with the game they were playing in. Their reaction was not premeditated and only shows the length of their fuse rather than mal intent. Both of them apologized immediately and acknowledged that this type of behaviour is incompatible with their professional status. That doesn’t necessarily mean that pro players have free range to throw around racial slurs and whitewash them with an apology. They do need to live with the consequences of their actions.
However, when it comes to Kuku’s case, it seems to me that Valve mostly punished the numerous attempts made by the player, his manager and his organization to sweep the issue under the carpet. We need to recognize that pro players are humans still and that they have their limits, flaws and bad days. But there should be a clear behaviour distinction between the obvious intent of hiding the mistake and the act of openly dealing with it.
Solo declares in his post that he feels like he atoned for his transgressions and served his time, which now gives him the ability to speak for an entire community. “I kept a secret from the team … and could not admit it at once” were his own words at the time. So, can he really claim the higher moral ground when his mistake was premeditated, involved his unaware teammates while playing in an official tournament and dragged the organization’s name through the mud? ?Can we really give the same weight to an outburst of rage and frustration caused by a flawed retribution system in the public games?
While Ceb’s behaviour in that public game stands way below the professional standards, as Ceb himself admitted in said pub that he earns his living from Dota and surely that comes with a whole lot of different behavioural parameters that apply to him, maybe, instead of rushing to grab the forks and pitches, the professional scene should start looking for the cause of these outbursts and a solution that puts the pro players in some kind of control of their own temper while in low stakes game like a pub one is.
As a professional Dota 2 player, avoiding the public games for fear of misbehaving that might attract a punishment which might affect your career and livelihood is not really an option. Pub games are where you innovate risk-free, they represent the spawning pool for the likes of GH, Yapz0r or Topson. As a pro team player you need to be there, you need to mingle with the mortals to freshen up your game, practice your mechanical skills and look for the next big talent that might help you win TI.
Perhaps a system that would dish out dire punishments but also empower somehow the pro players would be a solution. Since Dot2 2 has no in-game moderation, the pros could act as role models and enforcers of fair play by giving them some sort of admin power that would also come with greater responsibilities when playing in a public game. Their reports could weigh more for starters.
As it stands now, the lack of clear rules from Valve makes it so that the community’s gut reaction and the pressure generated by it becomes the rule. It is an organic form of evolving the ruleset, but it is prone to errors, mainly because it is reactionary and not planned and as a result, most often than not, it splits the community into partisan camps.
Valve should clearly put out some sort of conduct charter for the pro scene, one that should include harsh punishments for breaching the ruleset. It needs to be explicit, well thought and covering a wide range of situations. Serving late justice derived from Twitter, Reddit and Facebook mood swings is a recipe for disaster.