The esports community has spoken up about the riots in the United States ever since video of the suffocation of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by police went viral. The video exposed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Within nine minutes of obstructed breathing, Floyd lost consciousness and oxygen, eventually leading to his death. Even after Floyd lost consciousness, the police officer continued to kneel against Floyd’s neck until backup officers arrived. Despite outcries from bystanders to leave Floyd alone, Chauvin ignored the calls and cameras that were recording.
The situation sparked riots and protests all over America, inspiring celebrities, influencers, and the gaming community to speak up about racism and police brutality.
— Twitch (@Twitch) May 30, 2020
“ASTRO supports the #blacklivesmatter movement,” posted gaming technology company ASTRO Gaming, “and is outraged by the unnecessary and brutal police killings of George Floyd as well as far too many others.” Regardless of backlash and criticism, many esports and gaming businesses have offered donations and help to organizations supporting the victims of the protests. Other brands, such as ASTRO Gaming, offered to donate $15,000 to help small businesses on Lake Street in Minneapolis.
— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) May 29, 2020
Streamers stepping in
Popular streamer and influencer Richard Tyler “Ninja” Blevins also shared his thoughts to his 5.8 million Twitter followers. He addressed the unfair arrest of a black news reporter, known as Omar Jimenez. His statement ends with his overall sentiments on the issue. “I stand with the Black community and all races. #JusticeForFloyd.”
Once his tweet went live, he received plenty of criticism as well as support from his followers. One person requested him to stop speaking about politics, to which Ninja responded, “This isn’t politics(;) this is human rights.”
Additionally, esports TV host and personality Erin Ashley Simon spoke up about her disappointment with influencers who are too afraid to speak up, saying, “What’s going on right now is bigger than followings, bigger than sponsorships, bigger than the Esports and gaming community.” She then used her platform to help those who want to take action but are lost on how to do so. Along with being involved in tournaments and gaming events, Simon hosts Grass Routes Podcast, known to give minority gamers and influencers a platform to speak on.
To my friends in the gaming and esports community, please feel free to reach out to me if want to learn more or want to know what more you can do.
We must all come together for this.
— Erin Ashley Simon (@erinasimon) May 30, 2020
Esports teams getting involved
On the side of esports teams, plenty of well-known organizations have also given their input on the movement. Some of these teams include Overwatch League’s Los Angeles Valiant, Florida Mayhem, Washington Justice, and Toronto Defiant. Team Liquid Founder and Co-CEO Victor “Nazgul” Goossens also shared a lengthy statement regarding his thoughts: “Everyone fighting for this, whether in the streets or elsewhere, has my respect.” He is donating $10,000 to non-profit organization Humanity Forward. Additionally, he also chose to donate $10,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
I've been thinking a lot about what has been happening in America, and more specifically the brutality that happened in Minneapolis, and my heart goes out to those fighting for a better world. Thoughts from across the pond:https://t.co/uS12EzDB4a
— Victor Goossens (@LiquidNazgul) May 31, 2020
At the moment, riots and protests are still going on throughout many American states. Not to forget this is also happening during a pandemic, making protests and riots a risk to those participating. Regardless, the current status of police brutality and racism in the US is a conversation that needs to be had. Rioting is the voice of those who are angry at the current U.S. justice system in place, and many influencers and public figures are tired of staying quiet.
Some black and person-of-color-led organizations are also reaching out for support from influencers and fellow gamers. Some of these include Black Girl Gamers, I Need Diverse Games, Spawn On Me, and The Cookout.
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