Of all the battles we wage here, my personal frustration probably peaks on the topic of video games and real world violence. The amount of calories spent even having this discussion should go down as some kind of complete human failure. Study after study, never mind the input from actual law enforcement professionals, has demonstrated that the political talking points on violent games are complete bunk. I used to be fond of saying that the science on this topic was unsettled. At this point, the science is quite clear.
Which means what we really need for that science to take hold with the public and end this stupid debate is to stop signaling that the debate isn’t over. But when ESPN, with all of its popularity, decides to suspend a broadcast for an Apex Legends tournament because of the recent mass shootings, it’s doing the opposite.
This weekend’s planned airing of the EXP Apex Legends Invitational at X Games tournament on ESPN2 has been postponed by the network, “out of respect for the victims and all those impacted in the immediate aftermath of the shootings.”
The broadcast is meant to show highlights from the Apex Legends tournament that was held at X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on August 2. Originally scheduled to air on ESPN2 this weekend, the show has been postponed for two months.
On the one hand, look, sure this sounds fine. And it’s almost certain that somebody somewhere would have raised hell at ESPN about putting on a video game tournament that includes violent gaming shortly after a tragedy. But the job of society is to tell those people that they’re crazy, not bend the knee to them. One single movie announced it was pulling its release following the shootings and this too is absolutely not helping. Plenty other upcoming releases that feature violent imagery are going off as planned. No word of TV networks delaying the release of any episodes over concerns that they contain violence. Not a single book release has been rescheduled, music video delayed, nor comic book axed over any of this. So why is this different?
Because video games. The scapegoating has gone on for so long that it’s become etched into our psyches and only a conscious uncoupling is going to change that.