Overwatch League scene skeptical of NYXL marginalized gender team
Overwatch pros are concerned about NYXL’s idea to create an Overwatch League team made up of marginalized gender players.
New York Excelsior is planning to create an Overwatch League team that's made up of marginalized genders. The rumors were met with applause at first, but multiple sources close to the organization have expressed concerns with the endeavor.
The Overwatch League has largely been a boys club when it comes to the pro players. Shanghai Dragons' former Zarya main Se-yeon "Geguri" Kim has been the only female player to ever compete in the franchise. Now, NYXL reps have started to reportedly reach out to players who competed in the Calling All Heroes Challengers Cup qualifier, an OWL event focused on inclusivity. But this has ultimately drawn criticism from the rest of the scene.
An anonymous competitor told Dot Esports that it felt like a PR stunt. There is a very small pool of non-male identifying Overwatch pros, and many of them are unfortunately not on the same level as the players competing in the main Overwatch League franchise. The player feared that the all-female team would end up being ridiculed and that their performance would only further the sexism and marginalization they faced in the esports scene.
“It is disheartening that an org would be willing to throw players together that already deal with enough hate for their gender into this roster, which would lead to immense backlash if they happen to lose games,” a source said to Dot.
An Overwatch coach and streamer, Aramori, agreed with this sentiment. They said that the players would be on the receiving end of an "astronomical" amount of hate, calling the possible abuse "psychological trauma." Aramori added that the players would be "fed to the wolves" all in the name of helping the NYXL make money and stay relevant after its recent miserable performance.
Popular Overwatch pro Becca "Aspen" Rukavina also voiced frustration with the initiative. She explained that she would rather join an Overwatch League team based on skill, not her gender.
"The fact that NYXL is wanting to make an all-marginalized gender team that they know will struggle is frustrating," she said, suggesting that the organization put money towards Calling All Heroes and other initiatives instead.
The NYXL have yet to make any public statements regarding the backlash and concerns.
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Olivia Richman is a seasoned esports writer and editor who enjoys creating unique content about Smash, Apex Legends, Halo, Rainbow Six Extraction, Call of Duty, and basically every other game! Olivia enjoys the Pokemon TCG, Kirby, and being a persuasive thief in Fallout and Outer Worlds.