We are about to embark on another journey towards The International. The previous International concluded with an historic 5 game series between LGD and OG that had fans on the edge of their seats. With the playoffs of the first Major about to begin shortly, teams now set their sights on competing once again at The International next year.
The International has always been about bringing fans from diverse cultures all around the world together to celebrate the game we love with one another. Professional players compete year-round, hoping for a chance to prove themselves on the grand stage. They have strong competitive spirits, with high emotions and drive to perform. That’s why we love watching them compete. We’ve always had an approach of letting the players be themselves, and to express themselves freely. That’s how it’s always been for a long time. However, we also expect pro players to understand that they represent the Dota community regardless of where they are. Words carry a lot of meaning. Some people may not agree or understand why certain words are harmful, but it doesn’t make it any less so to those on the receiving end. The language used by multiple players over the last week has caused many of our fans a lot of pain and is not behavior that we condone.
We’ve been spending the past few days talking to various pro players and community leaders about this. From all the interactions we’ve seen over the years, we know that deep down professional players respect each other immensely. However, we want to be very clear that Valve will not tolerate racist language between pro players in any form. We think it is really damaging to the entire Dota community whenever even a single professional player uses discriminatory language. It pits fans against each other, belittles and demeans entire groups and makes them feel like they are not as important. Going forward, we expect all teams who participate in our tournaments to hold its players accountable, and be prepared to follow up with strong punishments when players represent Dota and its community poorly.
We hope that players and the community around the world will become better educated and more respectful as a result of the recent incidents. We think the communities everywhere around the world want the same things: for our favorite players and teams to do well, and for a great display of Dota. With the group stages over and the playoffs about to begin, we want to wish good luck to all the teams participating. Let’s enjoy some Dota together.