LCS 2021: Broxah Discusses the Toxicity in the Pro Scene

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

In a recent Youtube video, CLG jungler Broxah discussed the toxicity in the North America professional scene.

After an up-and-down first season in North America with Team Liquid, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen has clearly been feeling the heat from the community. Now the starting jungler for CLG, Broxah, has released a video detailing what he describes as the toxicity surrounding the pro player community.

In the video, Broxah goes into detail about instances where the community and particularly prominent members of the professional community were attacking him and other players. He describes instances where young players like Eika and Ry0ma were bullied by prominent influencers (which I can only assume means commentators and people around the scene) to the point that he needed to step in to defend them.

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Broxah acknowledges that his play in the first season in NA was a reason for criticism as well as other extenuating circumstances (difficulty getting to NA due to COVID, difficulty adjusting with his new team). However, he also notes that fans and observers don’t fully understand the circumstances that govern why a team performs well or poorly during the season.

He points to Cloud9’s drop in performance last year as an example of this since many observers (myself included) threw a lot of shade at the team for their flame off. Broxah states that the criticism of the team, in particular former mid laner Nisqy, doesn’t account for those unknown factors and how other teams improvements pushed them ahead of Cloud9.

While I understand Broxah’s point in making this video and certainly would never condone fans personally attacking players beyond their performance, I think that he and other pro players are oversimplifying honest criticism of their play with the unwarranted attacks. It’s not unfair for analysts and commentators to point out when a player is underperforming if their arguments are made in good faith and are supported by evidence.

Unfortunately, players like Broxah, Eika, and Ry0ma were not among the top performers in the LCS in 2020. That is backed up by both the eye test and evaluating the statistics.

None of that means that those players are just terrible, undeserving of ever playing professionally, and it certainly does not warrant fans harassing them. But to say that negative criticism is unfair because of the effect it has on pro players’ mentality is a bit immature.

Part of becoming a professional athlete, in esports or otherwise, is to open your performance up to criticism. Commentators do tend to skew negatively because it’s often far easier to pick out mistakes and areas of weakness compared to discussing why a player is among the elite. Speaking for myself, however, I do always try to include discussions of the good and bad performances when they stand out from the norm.

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At the end of the day, Broxah’s point about negativity and bullying is true. Players do not deserve to be harassed by fans in DMs or flamed for their personal issues, and most of what I have seen on the Reddit thread seems level-headed, fair criticism.

Unfortunately, players need to understand that they are going to be criticized, sometimes unfairly. Even fair criticism may inspire some less mature followers to engage in the sort of behavior the critic themselves would not condone. Ultimately, you gotta take your lumps, ignore the few raving idiots, and buckle down to shut the critics up. I hope Broxah proves me and a lot of others wrong in 2021.