When you think about it, this is unprecedented in certain ways. After all, sports clear and wide feature a lot of trash talk and banter between foes, but when you have the opportunity to “write” your taunts down, and they come off as, well, insulting, heads turn. Rightly so, of course, as no one should deserve to be on the receiving end of racism in any form or environment. But this issue of racism toxicity in Dota 2 tournaments might not only turn heads, but open eyes.

Meet Sebastien “7ckngMad” Debs, AKA “Ceb”

A rather popular professional video game player accused of inflammatory language against Russians: the heated exchange, of course, involved a Russian by the handle Maxim going through the typical taunts you’d expect from video game play, which led to rather unpleasant dialogue provided in evidence via screenshot of chat messages. Ceb, however, made a case within two hours of that allegation, stating that other players elevated the situation and of course caused him to lose his temper. The intention was to not target the entire Russian community, of course, but specific players who he deemed were “Russian.”

We, of Course, Know What You’re Thinking—What’s the Problem?

It, again, seems to be no different than standard trash talk, identifying players in a certain way that, yes, can be misconstrued as racism or discrimination especially if you read between the lines—especially if the comments were in writing. However, you begin to wonder when it gets too far—how do you fix it? You might think that something this heinous couldn’t be fixed, and that’s precisely why many see it as a problem—one little exchange of trash talk and a mention of anything remotely racist or discriminating can turn into a disaster, piling on more insults that were most likely intended to be harmless, but simply got worse.

This Is Honestly Why One Player, “Solo,” Still Had a Problem With Ceb’s Behavior

Alexei “Solo” Berezin of Virtus.pro even started that you “simply can’t say these things no matter what caused them.” It’s like being in a digital chat room. Somehow what you say (or in this case write) spreads like even more wildfire, like a virus, already infectious given the comfort of being behind the screen and not having to face the hurt or anger of the one dealing with the slurs. In other words, it’s much easier to slander someone online than in person. There’s a very gray area between “trash talk” and downright libel.

We, of Course, Know What You’re Thinking—What’s the Problem?

Ceb recently discussed amends, stating he was ashamed of his emotions getting the better of himself as well as offending so many people due to his popularity. You can understand that, and for certain this at least gets the train moving forward to a station of peaceful discourse and not calamity, but it wil take some obvious time as Ceb faces plenty of issues for his actions (which, yes, indeed, there were more than just the “Russian comment” incident). However, the real good news is that everyone’s very much receptive to turn the situation into a positive future for e-sports as a whole, most notably for Dota 2.