After what seems like ages, we finally have a verdict on the Kuku – Chongqing Major controversy. Valve, from whom the community had given up expectations of a decision, stepped in and put an end to all the ambiguity…with an ambiguous statement (it sounds strange, but that how it is!). What was the final decision from Valve? TNC will be docked 20% of their current DPC points for not handling the situation properly and most importantly, Kuku will be banned from the Chongqing Major. The complete statement can be found here:
TNC and the Chongqing Major https://t.co/n1Na44gDP5
— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) December 3, 2018
After all the drama that has unfolded in the past few weeks, this seems like a ridiculous decision from Valve. Here are excerpts from their statement with the reasoning:
TNC contacted Valve last Tuesday, asking if they would get a DPC point penalty for replacing Kuku; we told them that they wouldn’t. We assumed that they were then working on a plan to replace Kuku with another player. However it seems like TNC is currently not taking proper responsibility for their actions, coupled with the attempted cover up by the team, so we are now stepping in directly and banning Kuku from attending this event. To be clear, TNC is not the victim in this case. It is not okay to cover up the situation, avoid any real sense of responsibility and then deflect it onto the community. We expect them to disagree with this.”
Assumed? A company as prominent as Valve cannot possibly justify making assumptions based on what a team enquires. It is only natural that TNC, as the affected party, would consider all their options before coming to a decision. Just because they asked about what would happen on using a stand-in does in no way imply they are using a stand-in. The community is totally against this decision and it does not come as a surprise.
Seems like a sweep under the rug.
If you want to make DPC penalties – then write a goddam rulebook; don't just randomly decide on a penalty. The lack of transparency on that front still sucks. https://t.co/Bp28avSwpM
— Ben Steenhuisen (@followNoxville) December 3, 2018
A very valid point made by Dota 2 statistician Noxville here. This ban comes out of the blue without any rules or regulations for teams to follow. Were TNC just supposed to accept the ban, play with a stand-in and be bullied? There was nothing wrong in the way TNC handled the situation. Kuku put up two apologies on Facebook and the team declared on Twitter that they wanted to get to the bottom of this with as little controversy as possible. TNC also mentioned that Kuku would be fined for his actions:
It is our best interest to educate our players to own up on their mistakes, take full responsibility and correct their wrong actions. To clarify the term "penalty/fine" we posted last time, 50% of Kuku's winnings from KL Major, Chongqing Major (if we qualify) 1/4
— TNC Predator (@TNCPredator) November 25, 2018
Let’s go back to when all this started. The 24th of November when Team Secret’s manager, Cyborgmatt put out a tweet regarding the issue:
It's not a rumor. Skemberlu and Kuku are both banned from attending the Chongqing Major. Col and TNC were both contacted prior to the event and were asked if they wanted to kick the players.
There is still a chance that this ban can be extended and block them from attending TI9.
— Matthew Bailey (@Cyborgmatt) November 24, 2018
From the 24th of November to the 3rd of December (when Valve put out their statement), it has been more than 10 days. Why should it take the organization so long to take a stand? They claim in their statement that they step in only when organizations cannot deal with the situation. This situation was something big enough for them to have stepped in from the start. Paul ‘Redeye’ Chaloner is glad that Valve stepped in and took control, but mentions they should have done so before all the drama took place. He also mentions the need of a rulebook, which Valve should prioritize on.
I agree with the viewpoint here, TNC could have handled this entire thing much better.
I'm also happier that Valve make a decision on whether he is banned or not, this makes much more sense than leaving it to the local govnt or organiser.
We still need a rulebook… https://t.co/IARkCOfXTk
— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) December 3, 2018
I'm personally pleased Valve stepped in. I think they should do so more often and take more of a lead on esports. I do however wish it hadn't taken all the drama for it to happen.
I hope now we can all move on, unite against racism in any form and get back to great dota.
— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) December 4, 2018
The Dota 2 community is lashing out at Valve on Reddit, which was bound to happen. r/Dota2 is up to its neck in posts regarding how this decision is incorrect.
With controversy, there is always the new potential to generate humor from the situation. Redditors and Noxville suggested using Skem as a stand-in for Kuku. Skem shot himself in the foot by using the same racist words that Kuku used (Skem actually was the first to have made the mistake) but was quick to admit his mistake and apologize. Seeing Valve’s comment that the organizers have not banned anyone from the event, Skem is very much eligible to be used as a stand-in for the banned Kuku!
What if TNC use Skem as a substitute? Since he owned up to his actions and was apparently punished accordingly, would he be welcomed with open arms into the city of Chongqing?
— Ben Steenhuisen (@followNoxville) December 3, 2018
TNC have not responded to Valve’s decision yet. It will be interesting to see who they chose to replace Kuku and if the organization wishes to add fuel to the fire by actually considering Skem (Skem is from the Philippines as well!)
Coming to the conclusion of this long drawn controversy, it is indeed a good thing Valve stepped in. Some authority was necessary to bring an end to all the madness. But the way Valve did it was incorrect. Like Noxville said, they are just trying to sweep it under the rug and hope it just disappears.
Yes, racism is incorrect and has no place in esports. Especially when you are a player as prominent as Kuku, you have more of a responsibility to be a good role model. Kuku did not adhere to that, for which he was punished by his organization. But like GrandGrant put it, if a player makes a mistake and apologizes for it, he should be given a second chance and it should not affect his ability to participate in what could be a career defining tournament. Valve should make a defined set of rules and make sure they are followed to the dot to avoid such a situation in the future. For now, all we can do is actually sweep it under the rug and hope that peace and parity is restored to the community that is united by this wonderful game called Dota 2.