Why I Don’t Agree with the ESL Banning Team YP

Over the weekend, the Electronic Sports League, or ESL, the largest group that holds video game tournaments around the world, announced they were not going to flat out ban one particular team, Team YP, from competing in any of their official tournaments. Team YP, which has been attending ESL sponsored tournaments and competing in various games, such as Counter-Strike, DotA 2 and League of Legends, since 2014 has been banned not for their players being tested for drugs or for being unruly or anything like that. Rather, Team YP is now banned from the ESL because of their primary sponsor.

That’s because the “YP” in Team YP stands for YouPorn.

A *very* NSFW website.

A *very* NSFW website.

Apparently, there is a long standing rule in ESL regarding the advertising of adult/pornographic materials on their tourneys as a lot of their sponsors have a very strict “no drugs, no alcohol and no pornography” rule as well as pornography of any kind being illegal in some countries they hold tournaments. And since YouPorn is well, a porn company, there are going to be some raised eyebrows regarding why a porn company wants to send people to a gaming competition.

However, Team YP does understand why ESL may think they have dubious motives for forming a competitive gaming competition. And to Team YP’s credit they have been doing their darndest to distance themselves from their pornographic roots. This is exactly why they named themselves Team YP. This is why Team YP’s official website doesn’t reference or link to the YouPorn website. Heck, for last year’s Capcom Cup, they’ve gone as far as blurring out their team logo on their official jerseys in ironic subservience!

That's pretty ingenious and hilarious at the same time!

That’s pretty ingenious and hilarious at the same time!

Yet, even with all of this, the ESL has decided to ban Team YP from future competitions. I’m actually kind of torn with the ESL’s decision because I do understand the point of view of both sides. ESL would want to keep their sponsors happy by not affiliating with a team sponsored by a company that peddles pornography. Even if Team YP does rebrand itself and use a totally different name that doesn’t even imply their roots as a porn company, they still wouldn’t be allowed to join any ESL tournaments in the future.

Also, I’m a big fan of tangential learning when it comes to video games. This is when you see something in a video game that sparks your interest and would want to make you learn more about the topic. For example, if I play a game like The Last of Us, I can learn how the “zombie apocalypse” was caused by a mutant strain of the Cordyceps fungus, something that occurs in real life. That bit of information may make me want to learn how the fungus works and make me want to learn more about it. If you want to learn more about tangential learning, you can watch Daniel Floyd/Extra Credits video on the topic below.

Why do I mention tangential learning? Because the same can apply with Team YP! If I become a fan of Team YP, I would eventually want to know what the YP stands for. And where will this lead to? The YouPorn brand, of course! So, inadvertently or not, there is a chance that the ESL will be leading their viewers to the YouPorn website, which is what they want to avoid.

However, even with all of this, I still don’t agree with the ESL’s decision to totally ban Team YP and the gamers they represent for the simple reason that they’ve been joining competitions for a good year or two already without any issues! While I’m not big on the MOBA scene, I am a huge fan of watching fighting game tournaments online. And Team YP does sponsor a couple of Street Fighter competitors, specifically Valmaster and Filipinoman. And I actually like Filipinoman’s antics overall!

It’s a shame that these competitors like Filipinoman are pretty much in danger of losing their sponsors and their livelihood because of the “no pornography” rule of the ESL. And I totally get it; ESL is trying to be a “family friendly” and SFW brand. But it also seems unfair to Team YP who were given leeway to participate in tournaments before. The team has also gone to massive lengths to ensure to distance themselves from their parent company. They’ve even offered to rebrand themselves just so they can still continue joining competitions!

I do hope ESL would reconsider their decision and actually revise the rule in such a way that blatant advertising of drugs, alcohol and/or pornography is banned. Team YP is a good team and they are willing to work with the ESL so that they can keep competing. The only thing that’s preventing them is the ESL themselves.

What’s your opinion on the ESL banning Team YP? Let me know in the comment section below!

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