Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My thoughts on the Reginald/OnGamers Drama

          As some of you know, I'm a huge fan of the onGamers program, 'Summoning Insight' featuring MonteCristo and Thooorin. I love that League now has a show that's willing to ask the hard questions, call players out, and give an honest opinion, albeit insensitive at times. The recent drama about Reginald denying all interviews with Travis (of onGamers) because of the content of 'Summoning Insight' is something I wanted to talk about. I'd like to give my opinion on why it happened, the thought process behind it, who's right, who's wrong, and what impact all of this actually has for the community and for e-sports. If you haven't watched the show I'm not going to explain it for you. You'll need to watch and formulate your own opinions.(I'll be referencing a reddit comment I made that I'll paste at the bottom of the page)

          When I first read the news about denying Travis interviews my first thought was that Reginald is crying because somebody called him a name. Now obviously Thooorin cut pretty deep by comparing him to Caesar from Planet of the Apes (to be honest it actually does look like him...) and while this is terribly insensitive I'd like to bring up a couple of points about it. If you're a business owner, or professional athlete (e-athlete?) like Reginald is/was, why do you care what some guy on a talk show is saying about you? There's two ways to take this. You can either stand up for yourself by facing it head on or ignore it. Reginald chose neither. He chose another option which is to put up walls and deny someone that's almost completely unrelated other than working there (Travis) the resources of a relationship that had previously been fruitful for both parties. You don't see the President of the United States going on some local talk radio show to because the host disagrees with some of his policies because 1) You're the god damn President, 2) Other human beings aren't going to agree with absolutely everything you do, and 3) You have more important things you could be spending your time on (like improving your team). And yes, I understand age is a factor here, but there are plenty of professional athletes and young business owners that haven't responded in these controversial ways as Reginald has.

          Now it has since come to be public that, according to Reginald, Travis went to onGamers with this information in hopes to create some blast about it. I can't confirm whether or not this is true but if it is then that is equally scummy and childish of Travis who has, until this event, been doing a great job of keeping up to date and solid content as well as conducting excellent interviews. Reginald also mentioned that new TSM coach Locodoco requested that the players avoid social media. This is AWESOME. If you want to keep your players heads clear and they are unable to block out the criticism themselves (which they should probably learn how to do) a coach/manager telling them is the next best thing. I completely support that decision and think it's best for them as a team to ignore the hate and focus on improving and not sulking.

          The next major point I wanted to talk about is the thing that most people are taking issue with and that's Thooorin's insensitive language and "disrespect" of players. The fact of the matter is that he is stating what he thinks. He doesn't try to pretend to be someone he isn't. He's had a history of racial remarks (see the whole IEM debacle) as well as material on both SI as well as his own interview series'. Sometimes it's all in good fun and just "joking with the guys" in feeling while other times it's actually malicious. Do I agree with him doing this? No. Do I encourage this type of behavior? No. Do I respect him for stating his opinions? Yes. I don't agree with him or feel the same way sometimes and I know that I, myself, am not comfortable saying things like he does for certain reasons, but I'm not Duncan Shields. Freedom of speech. He can say what he wants whether you agree or not. Get over it.

          I like to compare 'Summoning Insight' to the famous Howard Stern. Uncensored, inappropriate, gaudy, derogatory. Whatever you want to call him, people find Stern's interviews and opinions entertaining enough to pay for it through a premium service. Nobody is forcing you to listen to him. Just like nobody is forcing you to watch 'Summoning Insight.' If you are bothered by derogatory language or know that you'll just be annoyed at the opinions of Thooorin and MonteCristo then just don't watch. People won't think anything less of you. But I wouldn't go complaining about it. Because the more you talk about it, the more the name comes up, the more views they get, and the next thing you know, guess who's "winning?"

          The final and most important point I'm trying to make here is that conversation is better than no conversation. It's OK to disagree. In fact I encourage you to disagree. Disagreements create debates, which bring up interesting points and counterpoints regarding a specific subject matter and can eventually lead to solutions to problems, or a deeper understanding of your own, as well as other people's opinions. HAVE YOUR OWN OPINION! Don't just regurgitate what others tell you and get upset when people disagree with you. The world of e-sports needs more of this kind of thing. It's something that traditional sports, politics, bar-room conversations with friends, and family feuds all have in common and it's only natural for us as fans and gamers to be able to have a civil conversation about our disagreements just like most people do in these other mediums. Let's up the level of our own conversations within this community so that it doesn't take a few insensitive remarks to send everyone flying into a frenzy in order to have passionate, well-informed, and interesting discussions.

My Reddit post:

"You guys need to listen to some satellite talk radio. SI is just like a blogger, or radio talk guy in that you don't have to do it and you can choose how you wish to respond and do so in a professional manner. But nobody is demanding that you watch it, and nobody is demanding the players go on it. Reginald has every right to keep his team from partaking in anything onGamer related if he feels that will help refocus his team. There is nothing wrong with this.
But people need to understand that Thorin doesn't try to act like he's better, or knows more about the game than anybody else. In fact he's admitted multiple times that he's not. A lot of people don't know that his background wasn't even in League and that he's been doing the E-Sports thing for many years now. He's simply trying to facilitate conversation. Now obviously it's not done in a particularly neutral or proper way but it gets the job done. Until now League hasn't had a show, or interviewer, or blog that calls people out and asks the harder questions. The closest it comes is some podcasts (Hey Trinity Force!). People need to realize that it's not all sunshine and daisies and if you're emotionally invested in e-sports you don't always have to be supportive. You're not going to call your local sports talk radio show and say "Man oh man I love when my Phillies lose all the time!" You're going to call in and either discuss reasons they're bad and how they can get better, or take out your frustrations and sympathize with other suffering fans by complaining and airing your grievances.
If you think someone's underperforming you can call them out. Thorin just does so in the public eye and in an extreme manner (hell it works at getting your attention doesn't it?). Do I agree with his methods? Not necessarily. Do I think he could still be direct without being completely insensitive? Probably. But he doesn't have to. He has the right to say things how he wants to say them and it's clearly getting the "conversation of League and E-Sports" a lot of attention which is exactly what we want.
If people want this to become more like legitimate major sports than they have to accept that there are plenty of bloggers, satellite radio personalities, etc. that are going to take a different angle on things but it doesn't make them wrong. What do most professional athletes/owners do? Usually they ignore it. Occasionally they'll go head to head with one of these personalities and it makes for really entertaining and interesting discussion.
It's ok to disagree. In fact it's awesome that people disagree because it can lead to conversations that are interesting and eventually to solutions to problems or deeper understanding of the problem at hand for all parties. It's called OPINION. Honestly more people should have an honest opinion about e-sports instead of the sugar coated magical Christmasland most people just accept and regurgitate. I want to be able to call a show up and say "I love that TSM dropped TheOddOne cuz he's been awful and they should've did this years ago." I want to hear other people that agree, and disagree with me and why. I want to hear that random guy from wherever say that he doesn't want foreigners in our league. I want to hear people rip on managers for poor roster changes. And I don't want any of this to make it legitimate, or to justify myself, or anything like that. I want it simply because CONVERSATION is better than NO CONVERSATION and having an opinion questioned helps you question your opinions and more importantly WHY you have them."

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