Counter-Strike Community Calls Out Northern Arena Casters for Attacking SmithZz

Criticize eSports all you want, but one must admit that it’s admirable how quickly a community is willing to defend their own and rectify problems as they arise. In this specific case, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene has found themselves in heated debate over just how far casters and analysts should be able to go when it comes to criticizing a player’s poor performance.

The community became at odds on Sunday night when SK Gaming’s Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo called out the Northern Arena casters for showing blatant disrespect towards Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux during G2’s grand final against OpTic Gaming.

“Is it only me who think its extremely disrespectful to see casters/tournament jokes making fun of players’ abilities during tournaments?” wrote FalleN via Twitter, “What people are doing to @G2SmithZz is UNREAL. Criticizing is fine but mocking him live? Disrespectful in so many levels.”

While the casters made a point to single out SmithZz throughout the event, frequently making him the butt of their jokes, several members of the community rose up to their defense by saying that it is a regular part of sports casting. One such defender was Richard Lewis who, after pointing out the flaws of several other members of the community, demanded evidence of another sport where commentators don’t mock poor performances, claiming that if someone wants the criticism to cease then they should improve their performance. Others, including Joona “natu” Leppänen, raise the argument of if a person cannot handle criticism then they should stay away from the internet until they can.

By contrast, several figures in the community were quick to shut down the acceptance of such behavior. Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner stressed that it is a commentator’s right to criticize poor performance, but there was a line between criticism and blatant mockery. Scott “SirScoots” Smith and ESL TV’s Editor in Chief Joe Miller Tweeted something similar, explaining that it is imperative that a caster backs up their claims as opposed to simply insulting a player for bad plays.

Of the entire broadcast, Alexandre “Vansilli” Nguyen’s outburst during the final round could be the best example of the very obvious difference between attacking a player and critiquing his performance. After SmithZz missed several shots during a key moment in round 28, the caster shouted “Yo les noobs!” which is a known meme centered on SmithZz based on a response he gave to users on vakarm.net.

Vansilli later apologized for the comment, claiming that it was, “Spur of the moment,” and was not meant to be a personal attack. Dustin “dusT” Mouret displayed no remorse for the harsh comments he had made regarding SmithZz, saying on-stream that he apologizes for “Absolutely nothing,” and that SmithZz needs to, “Step up and play a good game,” while lifting a cardboard Kappa face.

Neither SmithZz nor his teammates have weighed in on the debate.

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