Richard Lewis & Thorin dissect the CSPPA vs BLAST CSGO controversy


Following the CSPPA’s dispute over player recordings at CSGO’s BLAST Premier’s Fall Finals, Richard Lewis and Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields have scrutinized the organization’s efforts.

BLAST Premier’s Fall Finals opening match was delayed, after a Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA) petition surrounding the use of player voice and video recordings unraveled a slew of issues — with competitive integrity being at the forefront of the organization’s message.

The CSPPA issued a collective statement on behalf of the player representatives competing in the BLAST Premier circuit, which voiced their concerns surrounding the handling of said video and voice recordings.

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But in the wake of the events that unfolded, a team-collective statement was released, stating that the issues raised had already been resolved on November 23.

BLAST Premier team's response to CSPPA intervention.G2 Esports (Twitter)
Joint statement from BLAST Premier teams in response to CSPPA’s actions.

Ill-timed or unwarranted? Richard & Thorin react

Episode 138 of ‘By the Numbers’ was a CSPPA special. Richard began by discussing the turmoil surrounding the CSPPA’s actions against BLAST. “Now the CSPPA are attacking leagues, and attacking leagues that just so happen to be the league that don’t pay them money! Like a mafia shakedown…”

Thorin went on to draw parallels between the players at the helm of the association and their approach to issues with other tournament organizers, referencing the now infamous coaching bug scandal and how, according to Thorin, they didn’t treat the matter in a similar light.

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“The fact that they didn’t stand and do strike action against any of these other things (and sometimes didn’t even speak out), actually tells you everything you need to know.”

You can watch the full VOD below.

BLAST paid the price, but were CSPPA right?

While principally, the pair disagree with both the inequality and timing of CSPPA’s intervention, Richard made it clear that he agrees with the sentiment behind the movement.

“I want to stipulate… I agree with CSPPA’s stance on this 100%,” he said. “There’s a GDPR consideration. If you’re recording motherf**kers — where’s it being stored? How long is it being stored for?”

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But while Richard expressed a mutual concern regarding data regulation and safety, he remained skeptical of the implication that players and teams are benefiting from BLAST’s recordings, saying: “I don’t believe for a second that someone has taken a team recording and then sold it to another team… That is so insane.”

NiKo competing for FaZe Clan during BLAST Premier event.BLAST Premier
BLAST have combined voice and video recordings to create a more immersive experience during the online eta.

The argument continues on Twitter…

While the By The Numbers hosts are among the most vocal critics, they’re far from alone in their concerns about the CSPPA and its actions.

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A number of ‘tier 2’ coaches and players have also spoken out about the organization, claiming it fails to communicate or show solidarity with players and teams that aren’t at the very top of the CS:GO mountain.

“CSPPA never spoke to any of my players or brax the whole time they knew we were about to get our spot stolen,” said Danny ‘fRoD’ Montaner, referencing ESL’s decisions to reduce the number of spots in the EPL. “[As far as I know] the other affected teams were not spoken to either from NA.”

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Jordan ‘Zellsis’ Montemurro responded: “remember when I had that meeting and I was basically told nothing could be done ever and they have no power whatsoever?”

The CSPPA refute these claims, stating that they “have close to 300 members” and “management talk to and assist tier 2 players every day.”

“Only thing I can confirm is that every team/player I’ve talked to below tier 1, and even teams in tier 1, have never been asked to vote on any decisions or elect representatives,” said former pro David ‘DAVEY’ Stafford.

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Richard’s call to action: Valve, it’s time to step up

Given Counter-Strike’s turbulent year, both in terms being forced into online exclusivity and the numerous player-related scandals, Richard believes Riot’s Valorant poses a very real threat to CS:GO’s global esports presence if Valve don’t act fast.

“They are strategizing the success of Valorant, predicating on the failures of Overwatch and Counter-Strike — and that is an unequivocal fact,” he admitted.

“It’s a mess, it’s a f**king mess. And unfortunately, for once Valve, you are going to have to come in and clean up the mess…”

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