Overwatch League: Teams And Talent Side With George Floyd Protests; Fans Wonder Where This Was For Hong Kong Protestors

Overwatch League: Teams And Talent Side With George Floyd Protests; Fans Wonder Where This Was For Hong Kong Protestors
Credit: PlayOverwatch

As the obscene reality behind the death of an unarmed African American has brought out quite a few protests across the United States in recent days, Overwatch League has surprisingly not maintained silence on the issue of unequaled police brutality towards African American citizens.

It’s a move that has been more than welcomed as multiple talent figures and teams have come forward stating their solidarity with the movement Black Lives Matter, as the intentional killing of a community member by police officer Derek Chauvin; an officer on the force of Minneapolis Police Department with multiple infractions on his record showing a history of violence towards citizens.

The movement has been growing within the League over the past few days, as protests have grown louder.

The seemingly unanimous resolve has been fascinating to watch, due to events from 2019 that had more than a few fans scratching their heads.

The solidarity behind the Black Lives Matter protests is of tremendous cultural significance as media outlets begin their race-baiting rhetoric in a seemingly inexhaustible stream that paints the protests as violent acts of disorder and murder.

While fans have rallied not only behind the protests, but also talent and teams speaking out against the racial injustices that somehow continue in the modern age, some more reflective fans have been a bit stumped and puzzled on the League’s sudden turn of heart.

Teams and Talent alike were deadly silent on Blizzard’s treatment and capitulation of the Chinese government during the Hong Kong protests (which are ongoing), of which multiple Hong Kong citizens have been raped and killed, or only killed; hundreds of citizens that were peacefully protesting have disappeared entirely.

This scales relatively far back in Blizzard’s history when Blitzchung won a Hearthstone tournament and made a message of HK-solidarity on Blizzard’s stream. Blitzchung had his winnings stripped of him due to the statement, and a permanent ban from further Hearthstone tournaments.

It was a calculated move from Blizzard who is attempting to retain an audience with the profitable Chinese market; much as Steam has done, they’ve sided with China in order to maintain market relevance.

The talent was seemingly frightened of making a statement against China or for Hong Kong; even the typically outspoken caster Mitch ‘Uber’ Leslie refused to comment on a stream the next day, saying that wasn’t what he was hired to do (with a few additional colorful epithets added in from apparent frustration).

To some fans of the Overwatch League, it’s merely a bizarre juxtaposition between two incidents, both of which continue today. The more cynical may look at this, based solely on Blizzard’s past positions, as yet another calculated move from Blizzard in terms of profit and fan engagement.