#FREESWAG Everyone Deserves a Second Chance
#FREESWAG Everyone Deserves a Second Chance
These are not my words,
but copied from an article on dexerto.com On August 21, 2014, a day that changed the lives of seven young men, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team from iBUYPOWER willfully and purposefully did “throw” their match against NetcodGuides.com. I make no assertion to the contrary.
On January 26, 2015, under the heading of “Integrity of Fair Play”, a decision was made and posted publicly stating that seven people were indefinitely banned from all Valve-sponsored events following an investigation that provided a preponderance of the evidence that the allegation made against the seven individuals were true. I again make no assertion that the decision was erroneous or with done with malice.
With all due respect and with the knowledge that you are the sole owner and arbiter for your Counter-Strike: Global Offensive franchise, I am requesting that Braxton “Brax” Pierce be reinstated and allowed to participate in Valve-sponsored events—with conditions agreeable or negotiated to a fair agreement between Valve, Braxton Pierce and any organization for which he plays.
The foundation for the argument of the conditional reinstatement of Braxton Pierce lies in the intertwining of two narratives; the esports professional era in 2014 combined with the inexperience and immaturity of a then 17-year old professional esport athlete.
2014 was a tumultuous year for CS:GO and esports in general. With over 1,300 professional players, 270 tournaments, and over $1.9 million dollars in prize money handed out that year, there is no doubt that the players, teams, and organizations wanted to cash in and Braxton Pierce was no different. But why would a 17-year old Braxton Pierce throw a match for cash considerations?
For the love of the game.
For a young player such as Pierce, every cent of cash he made, or in this case took, allowed him to continue playing the game he loved. In 2014, unless you were one of the top 10 teams in the world, there was no way for a high school aged player, or anybody else for that matter, to make enough money to continue the endeavor of being a professional esports athlete. All Braxton Pierce wanted to do was play Counter-Strike.
In fact, we now know that even the good teams could not make a living as they supplemented their income by purchasing a stake in or creating gambling web sites that were often corrupt and oftentimes illegal. To this day, there are still teams in esports that own gambling sites and take bets on their matches. This is the pinnacle of impropriety.
I think one point we can agree on is, that on average, a 17-year old is not adept at decision making when it comes to fame, fortune, and the perks of becoming a professional esports athlete. They see what others are doing and want it so bad that sometimes a young aspiring professional will do things that can affect the rest of their career, as in this case.
Now 20, Braxton Pierce knows that the errors of his youth cost him—dearly. He understands the magnitude of the events that occurred in 2014 and how it could have devastated the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene, the scene he loves to this day.
Braxton Pierce has now fully accepted his role in what happened with the full weight and responsibility it deserves. He has been a role model for aspiring streamers and esports athletes and has helped shaped the lives of many young people.
He has not rallied to the outcry of people asking for his reinstatement. Instead, he has sat back and accepted your decision with the maturity and grace of a man that understands what he did wrong.
However, now the question needs to be asked as to whether or not a child of 17 years who made a poor decision should suffer the repercussions for his entire adult life.
The answer, in this case, should be, respectfully, no.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has continued to grow at an exponential pace, going from $1.9 million dollars in prize money in 2014 to over $17 million dollars in 2017. While what Pierce did was wrong and should never be tolerated, his act did not stifle the game or the genre. In this case, he was lucky.
There is a precedent in life, sports, and law enforcement that allows for some leniency in a case like this. Juveniles aren’t usually incarcerated for minor crimes and match fixers in soccer have been reinstated much sooner than two years.
I would also argue that we have all made some serious mistakes that had we been caught, would have resulted in serious consequences. Braxton Pierce was caught and served time.
I am asking for the reinstatement of Braxton Pierce, by allowing him to play in Valve-sponsored events with the following restrictions enforced for a two-year period:
The organization that signs Braxton Pierce must put up a $10,000 bond that is forfeited if he is caught cheating or match-fixing. He is forbidden to communicate with those suspended from the iBUYPOWER team of 2014. He is not allowed to communicate with anyone that owns, facilitates, or sponsors a gambling web site that takes bets for the team he plays. Create one public service announcement of Valve’s choice each year. Braxton Pierce has fully accepted responsibility for his actions, has repented and is now ready once again to tackle the rigors of becoming a professional esports athlete. With these restrictions in place, I feel that Braxton Pierce can be reinstated and be a model member of the Counter-Strike and esports community.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Thank you (Source)
My own thoughts
I think that everyone deserves a second chance in what they are doing. Braxton knows what he did wrong, but to be permanently banned. I think he should be allowed back in. People who have murdered people were given second chances in society, so I believe Brax deserves a second chance.