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Silicon Sports | 03/06/2020

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Drug Use in eSports

Drugs in eSports


As I’m sure most, if not all of you are aware, just over two weeks ago an interview was held with professional Counter-Strike player Kory “Semphis” Friesen conducted by known community member Mohan “Launders” Govindasamy. During the interview Launders asked Semphis a generic question regarding in-game communications. Throughout Semphis’ response he stated “The ESL comms were kinda funny in my opinion,” he then went on to say “I don’t even care. We were all on Adderall. I don’t even give a fuck. It was pretty obvious, like, if you listen to the comms. People can hate it or whatever.” Then Launders proceeded with the following comment “Everyone does Adderall at ESEA LAN, right?”

Madness, madness and stupidity

Now for me personally, watching that exchange, what pissed me off more was the fact that both of them were very nonchalant about Semphis’ statement and then with Launders looking the camera directly after the exchange and Launders drops the following comment “Just throwing that out there for all the fans.”

With all the controversy that has surrounded Counter-Strike in the last year or so (Pro players being VAC banned, entire teams deliberately throwing games for skins and subsequently being banned by Valve from any co-sponsored professional Counter-Strike events) the last thing that needed to happen right now was this exchange.

I get that Semphis just decided to throw it out there like it wasn’t a big deal, but it is, and the effect it has had will be wide spread, particularly more so for Counter-Strike with the above mentioned controversies already surrounding the game and it’s community.

We have a fairly unique culture when it comes to eSports and I’m all for candid comments regarding the goings-on within professional teams, but come on, you have to apply some kind of foresight before opening your mouth.

The ESL reacts

With Semphis referencing the comms during the ESL Katowice event, it has come as no surprise that the ESL were the first to have reacted fairly swiftly to display some form of action regarding performance enhancing drugs. They had to, with eSports continuing to grow momentum, with insanely large amounts of money we have never seen before being funnelled into and out of eSports as a whole, the ESL had no choice but to take a stand.

The ESL has partnered with NADA (the Nationale Anti Doping Agentur) to help assist with the initial start of setting policies and rules to tackle doping in it’s tournaments.

Not only does drug use hurt the communities’ perspective about the competitions and risks player health but it also impacts sponsorships. Just look at the fallout reaction from Lance Armstrong’s confirmation that he was a drug cheat, all his sponsors jumped ship almost immediately after the news broke.

It doesn’t take much effort to realise that sponsors won’t hang around if there is blatant drug abuse occurring around the tournaments and the organisations they are sponsoring. If it were to continue unchecked it could ultimately put eSports back years from the progress it has made.

While some people have outlined loopholes within the ESL’s initial proposal for a drug policy, it’s still a step in the right direction. If eSports wants to continue to grow and to continue to be widely accepted by the greater population it needs to start getting serious about how it conducts itself.

You can find the ESL’s response here

Progressing forward

While the ESL’s approach and response is definitely a step in the right direction, other organisations running significant eSports tournaments need to follow suite, or at the very least adopt similar policies to reinforce that performance enhancing drugs have no place in competitive gaming.

The key here is the need for a true eSports global governing body to set guidelines, policies and rules that should be applied to any major tournament runner.

The IeSF (The International eSports Federation) could be such an organisation and has also chimed in regarding the latest scandal, admitting that doping in eSports is definitely an issue. The IeSF outlined that they already conduct testing in line with WADA’s 2015 rules, but this currently only applies to IeSF hosted events.

The inherit problem I can foresee occurring is that there may be the spawn of multiple eSports governing bodies that each major eSports organisation might pick and choose from, which could ultimately have skewed guidelines and rules. Can you imagine? What an absolute nightmare for professional teams.

The key problem with multiple governing bodies as we all known eSports is a truly international sport, we cannot go down the road of multiple governing bodies for multiple tournament organisers. The IeSF is making the right moves, but it will ultimately mean little if they are not adopted across the board.

I hope the community and organisational reaction gives any pro players/teams a bit of a wakeup call that their doping days are numbered.

–    effektd


  1. superhotpickle

    Zero Tolerance. Just like pro-sports around the world, performance enhancing drugs need to be cut out before it becomes an epidemic.

    Lets call these people what they are, drug cheats.