ESPN and ABC announced this evening that they will not air a planned Apex Legends event out of respect for the victims of this past weekend’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.
Politicians put video games in the spotlight again this week in the wake of a terrible pair of mass shootings. Many Republican lawmakers pointed to video games as a cause for the violence in this country. This resulted in a lot of pushback from analysts and gamers who pointed to data that shows video games are not to blame.
All of this discourse over violence in games lead to the cancellation of an Apex Legends Invitational that would have aired this weekend. The esports event took place last weekend at X Games Minneapolis and saw teams compete for $150,00 in prizes.
ESPN and ABC has made the decision not to air the TV broadcast of the XGames Apex Legends EXP Invitational that was scheduled for this weekend, in response to the recent mass shootings, according to an ABC Affiliate TV station source pic.twitter.com/6BMwdbk93t— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 8, 2019
The move to delay the event seems to add fuel to the discourse about the relationship between games and violence. The event otherwise has no relation to the horrible incidents.
This week has seen an overwhelming outpouring of support from people defending games. First, the hashtag #videogamesarenottoblame began trending on Twitter. The gaming community used the hashtag to point out the inconsistencies with this argument and to try to refocus the discourse on proper gun reform.
After that, former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton stepped in with her own comments about games and violence. She pointed out that many other countries have as many games as we do, yet far less gun violence. The ESA echoed her sentiments.
After that, former Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime Tweeted his support for games. He brought statistics that backed-up Clinton’s claims even further. Even Bernie Sanders chimed in hoping to help steer the conversation away from this diversion.
This mountain of evidence and support clearly hasn’t made enough of an impact to separate video games from gun violence in people’s minds this week. This move from ESPN and ABC may come off as tone deaf to a lot of folks who feel put through the wringer by the ongoing debate. The move comes on the heels of Walmart’s decision to remove violent video game displays.
Fans of esports who are disappointed that the event will not air can still watch it online. The event aired on the ESPN Sports YouTube account. According to ABC, the event will also still air on ESPN eventually at a later date.
ESPN has reach out with more information about the delay:
The decision was made in the immediate aftermath of the shootings and it seemed the prudent thing to do given the swirl of that moment.
They also gave dates on when folks can expect the event to air:
Sunday, October 6 at 5p ET on ESPN2
Tuesday, October 15 at 11p ET on ESPN2
Sunday, October 27 at 4 ET on ESPN2