Controversy has always followed traditional sports stars around; Maradona, Cantona and Zidane - without doubt three of the best footballers in the world in their time, but all of them also remembers for that hand, that kick and that headbutt. Celebrities in general, but often sports stars, are held to a higher standard as role models and at times representatives of their respective countries. E-sports stars have a different set of problems when it comes to their actions on and off the pitch, namely due to the fact that the principle place in which they compete - even when not on the world stage - is recorded and preserved digitally.
This is what has brought Sébastien "Ceb" Debs unanimous criticism from across the e-sports community. As a bit of background, Ceb is one of the biggest stars in Dota 2: he plays for OG, the team that last year won the $11.2m grand prize in The International, the biggest tournament in e-sports.
Ceb got into trouble when, in a public game (a game made up of ten random players - the equivalent of a pick-up game), he got angry at a player on the opposing team. Really angry. Ceb used the in-game chat function to give a tirade of hate filled speech at the opposing player that anyone would regard as deeply offensive.
The text was screenshoted and circulated around the community. Some players on other professional teams took the issue so seriously that they threatened to pull out of upcoming contests without an official intervention from Valve - Dota 2's publisher.
In the end, Ceb's team took actions to punish him for the inappropriate behavior, fining him part of his salary as well as any winnings he may make from an upcoming tournament. The saga shows e-sports stars are being held to a higher standard of behavior which matches both their status as role models within the community and ambassadors for the games they play.
We want to make it very clear: we firmly condemn all the offensive words that Seb used during that game and we took actions accordingly.