It was a great day for inclusivity in gaming and esports when the North American Overwatch Contenders team Second Wind announced the signing of a player called Ellie on December 22, but as reported by Dexerto, this promising young player has chosen to step down from the team before even playing a match.
Ellie hasn't played competitively before, and without a public profile she was questioned by members of the community on her identity, with some claiming it was another player with a new account, despite Ellie speaking on Twitch to try and prove her identity. Even Atlanta Reign player Daniel 'Dafran' Francesca postulated that the person he was talking to wasn't the same as the one playing.
Second Wind's owner Justin Hughes then released on statement on Twitter about the situation:
"When we brought her onto the team, people acted like we had brought on a symbol of empowerment. I get that people meant well, but on one side, we had people questioning her legitimacy, issuing threats, etc. while on the other hand, we had people acting like they had found their Messiah. Between needing a player to live up to huge expectations and having to question their own safety, it seems that the OW community isn't ready to just view a player as just a player. We wanted a player, but it seemed like the public wanted something else."
As is evident from comments on this thread, many have pointed out that these kinds of things are the reasons why getting women into esports can be so troublesome, and why Ellie might have been justified in keeping her identity hidden in the first place.
For more on women in esports be sure to check out our article from last year in which we talk to Hurrah's Angela Natividad about opportunities, issues, and what the future holds for the field.
Are you sad to see Ellie go?