Why Overwatch League's LA Valiant Tweeting About George Floyd Is Important

Overwatch League organization, Los Angeles Valiant, tweeted a message about the recent murder of a black person by a white policeman.

By Daavpuke, Posted 28 May 2020

Pardon me as I get on the soap box for a minute. We're not prone to do so here at NoobFeed, in our consumer-focused community, but maybe that's part of the reason for this story. Yesterday, the Overwatch League organization, Los Angeles Valiant, tweeted a message about the recent murder of a black person by a white policeman, monitored by their fellow officers. The message goes as follows:

His name was George Floyd.

We cannot be silent in the face of racism and injustice in our country. It is irresponsible not to speak up while innocent people face insufferable discrimination each day.

"Hatred is born of ignorance: fear is its father, and isolation its mother."

— Los Angeles Valiant (@LAValiant) May 27, 2020

Since posting this message and at the time of writing, the tweet amassed over 2000 retweets, including fellow teams Florida Mayhem and Atlanta Reign. Each account has tens of thousands of followers and with it, the teams help with bringing issues to the surface. This is important.

Not only is it important for someone like the Valiant, owned by the Immortals esports brand, to speak for the most obvious surface level reasons, but also because, well, the organization is speaking in the first place. The norm right now for brands is to stay silent, stay on the sideline, when the real world rumbles, because any opinion can potentially upset anyone. Brands cater to the broadest possible net. Saying anything about the murder of George Floyd, even if watered down in words, is so much louder than the usual silence. In posting a message, the Overwatch League team puts a clear marker on where they stand and where they expect their fans to follow.

Overwatch League, LA Valiant, George Floyd, Murder, Black Person, White Policeman

More so than just an exceptionally vocal brand, however, the message is also important because it underlines the struggles that the Overwatch community goes through. Even in-game, certain players cannot escape the societal inequality that surrounds them; they cannot escape prejudice or injustice. Even when no internal conflict arises during a match, not all players are on equal footing, through the contextual elements of their environment. Not everyone is sitting in a stable or safe home. Not everyone has the necessary resources to only worry about performing. These blind spots are usually ignored by both players and companies alike, creating a frustrating and even toxic environment for people who just see Overwatch as a means of escapism and can't, or don't, understand another party's conflicts.

Overwatch frequently struggles with racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic issues, even allegations of pedophilia within the Overwatch League itself. Examples are overwhelming. Catch any stream for long enough and one such problem will manifest. Today, at least, some of the official sources behind the game have come forward to acknowledge what some of their players have already been living for ages. An acknowledgement; it's just that simple. 

Games are not the great equalizers we want them to be so desperately. Those who do not see that, simply do not understand the privilege that allows them to miss this problem. With one message from the LA Valiant, we are a little closer to closing that gap, or rather, that chasm. Before we sit back and enjoy the back pats, however, we as a community should also recognize that this effort should become the norm first, instead of the exception. No one wants to see messages of injustice come up, but they need to be addressed, as long as it takes.

Don't worry, we're sticking to video games. This, too, is about video games; and the people who play them. Being better can start today. Overwatch has an endorsement system that is barely used. Here's a reminder to endorse players, even when the game is lost, because it costs nothing to be nice to someone.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed

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General Information



Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Blizzard Entertainment
Developer(s): Blizzard Entertainment
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: MOBA, PvP, 6v6 Brawl
Release Date: 2016-05-24

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