The next Dota 2 Major is the Chongqing Major in January 2019. However, the event is already embroiled in a lot of controversies. There are reports of the Chinese government interfering in the event and possibly banning TNC player Kuku. It is not official yet but multiple sources have confirmed that such a move is in the plans.
Why would the Chinese government ban Kuku?
TNC Predator player Kuku used a racially abusive word in a public match. The word refers specifically to Chinese people. Not only is it unacceptable to be racist towards a particular community, but a public figure doing so only worsens things. The Chinese players, casters and multiple Dota 2 personalities took to Social media to demand action. They wanted a public statement from Kuku and Valve as well as possibly a fine as a punishment. While Kuku and Valve did issue statements [ Valve with a very vague one ], things took an ugly turn when the Chinese government stepped in. With the Chongqing Major around the corner, there are reports that the Chinese government will possibly disallow Kuku from entering the country. At the same time, the organisers have told TNC predator that they cannot guarantee the safety of the player.
This is an indirect threat to the player to not attend the Major on his own volition. That would prove to be the best possible scenario for all parties concerned. However, without any set rules and directives from Valve, TNC Predator is not required to undergo a change to their roster.
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TNC Predator: The organisers do not want Kuku to attend
Here is the public tweet thread from TNC Predator account yesterday.
3. The organizers will not be able to guarantee his safety should he attend
The organizers also informed us that neither TNC nor Kuku is banned from attending the Major.
— TNC Predator (@TNCPredator) December 2, 2018
In light of this, TNC has yet to decide whether we will continue playing in the event.
For now, we will be exploring all of our options.
We will update the community in the coming days about TNC’s decision. Thank you.
— TNC Predator (@TNCPredator) December 2, 2018
They mention three points after their discussion with the tournament organisers. The Chongqing Major is a joint collaboration between Starladder and ImbaTV.
- He might not be able to enter the country
- . The city government will possibly cancel the tournament should he attend
- The organizers will not be able to guarantee his safety should he attend
Can the Chinese government ban Kuku?
This is the wrong question to ask if you are a Dota 2 fan. The correct question would be should the Chinese government ban Kuku? And the answer is a resounding ‘NO’. Kuku’s statements and actions [ even till a few days before] are not worthy of a top-tier Dota 2 player. However, it should not be the role of the Chinese government to interfere in an esports event. At the same time, Valve’s silence is probably the reason for the government’s intervention. Valve has always adopted a policy of being silent until things boil over. This time, it has only worsened things and Valve is yet to issue a public statement on the recent crisis.
The Chongqing Major is a Valve event and it is essential for them to ensure that the event goes smoothly. However, Valve’s refusal to punish Kuku in a direct manner is baffling. It is time for them to step up their policies on Esports and the role of professional players in the public eye. However, such a move would require a more hands-on approach from the game developer, something that does not fit into their approach to the game.
At present, we hope that Valve, Starladder, IMBATV and the Chinese government are in constant talks. With only a few weeks to go before the teams play the first match, they need to book their travel tickets as soon as possible. It is essential that Valve issues a public statement in coordination with the rest of the parties involved. It would put to rest any speculations and the mob frenzy that is currently defining Reddit and social media.
Dota 2 Casters are boycotting the tournament
There is a real possibility of TNC Predators pulling out of the Chongqing Major due to Kuku’s situation. In solidarity with the player, we have multiple Dota 2 personalities pulling out of the event.
Over the past few hours, Grant ‘GrandGrant’ Harris, Owen ‘ODPixel’ Davies, Paul ‘RedEye’ Chaloner have confirmed their conditional withdrawal from the event. They will not attend the tournament in case Kuku is not allowed to play in the Chongqing Major. Already this is a loss to the Dota 2 community, as they will not have some of the best casters at the event. Despite having the top teams in attendance, the viewing experience is sure to suffer in case of the absence of these casters.
I will not be attending the Bucharest Minor or Chongqing major, as they both happen just after Sheever’s reconstructive surgery, and I will be fully focusing on helping her recover at home, as she will be unable to travel and will need my assistance.
Hope you will all understand!
— Owen Davies (@ODPixel) December 2, 2018
If kuku isn’t allowed to play at the major I refuse to cast officially for the major , we all make mistakes and 1 mistake should not forbid you from playing at a tournament that potentially decides your whole career
— Grant Harris (@GranDGranT) December 2, 2018
1. I was not invited to the Major, I announced that weeks ago.
2. In the event of Sheever not being able to attend (as she has confirmed), I will not be replacing her if asked.
3. I support those who will not attend as a stand of principle.
— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) December 2, 2018
i also wont be attending the major as long as kuku is banned
— ixmike88 (@ixmike88) December 2, 2018
RedEye did not receive an invitation to the Major, however, in case the organisers approach him as a replacement he will decline. This is a strong message from the ‘Western’ Dota 2 community to the Chinese government and organisers.
Valve will allow TNC to play with a stand-in [and no penalty]
Usually, when a team plays with a stand-in for the Dota 2 Majors, they have to suffer a 40% penalty in DPC points. However, due to the unique nature of TNC’s position for the upcoming Chongqing Major, Valve has allowed them to play with a stand-in. They will not suffer any consequences in terms of points penalty for their choices.
Here is an official statement by TNC Predator’s FaceBook page.
We’ve been receiving a number of questions since our last statement. We would like to clarify a few things:
1. SLTV, IMBATV’s Western partners for the Major, has been kind enough to open lines of communication with us. We have been trying to reach IMBATV through our friends from the Chinese community since it is our goal to have a sincere dialogue with them about the issue and to understand each other’s point of view.
To date, we have yet to receive feedback directly from IMBATV. Our doors remain open as we sincerely wish to resolve this matter.
2. We have reached out to Valve and their positions is that our team may still compete at the Major with a stand-in and that no point penalties will be applied. This is the only response we have received from Valve.
We would like to remind the community that we want to resolve this issue as sincerely and peacefully as possible. TNC and Kuku fully understand the gravity of the mistakes committed which is why we have exhausted every avenue to talk with all parties involved, especially the aggrieved.
Our goal is not to divide the communities of our awesome game. We appreciate the outpouring of support from the community. We do hope this could all be resolved in the best possible way. Again, we are still mulling our options as we are waiting from responses from parties involved before we make our decision. Thank you.
Valve, where are the rules?
Valve is a silent observer when it comes to controversies. In the past, this has worked wonders for the developer. However, they seem to be out of depth in this particular situation. The game developer needs to set fixed rules that will apply to every Dota 2 player and team. The enforcement of these rules would guarantee a level playing field for everyone concerned.
For now, it does look like the Chongqing Major will go forth without Kuku and possibly a long list of talents as well. The Chongqing Major starts on 19th January 2019.