New York Excelsior might have plans to create a team featuring only players of marginalized genders for the 2023 season. The organization wants to put them in competition against male rosters of the OWL. The information was revealed by Dot Esports, citing multiple sources.
One of them commented on the situation with concern. Preferred to stay anonymous because of a possible backlash, the source says that NYXL management will likely dismiss all the potential harm that might happen because of such a move.
Hearing them say they wanted to make a female roster, hit me as a positive thing, that it was great they were willing to look at talent from marginalized genders. Upon further discussion about how there aren’t enough people to make a [tier one/professional] roster ready for OWL, it came off as a bad idea that was only set out for PR.
It is disheartening that an org would be willing to throw players together that already deal with enough hate for their gender into this roster, which would lead to immense backlash if they happen to lose games.
Apparently, New York Excelsior came to the idea of a non-male roster after watching Calling All Heroes, the Challengers Cup qualifying tournament that had a viewership comparable with OWL. The competition featured marginalized genders and was part of the Overwatch program to support these types of players.
There are a lot of concerns in the community about creating such a team and putting them into OWL. The playerbase will be way too small to pick from, and the roster will likely be doomed to fail against the teams that do not have those artificial restrictions. There was only one non-male player in history who competed at the highest level, the now-retired Se-yeon "Geguri" Kim.
Creating a mixed roster could be a solution for NYXL, but an anonymous source told Dot Esports that the organization does not consider this option because the "statement isn’t wide enough."
Former Overwatch pro and coach Chassidy "Aramori" Kaye created a thread pointing at many downsides of this project. She is sure that this is a PR stunt because NYXL doesn't try to participate in existing initiatives but wants to force such a team to the highest level.
These players will be under a microscope from day 1, thousands of eyes watching their every move and blaming them for being in the scene. There is already a case of a trans pro LoL player [Remilia] who unalived herself because of the hate she received, both from fans and from other players within the game. Now, imagine an entire ROSTER receiving that same kind of negative attention. It's a recipe for disaster, both metaphorically and literally. And NYXL knows this, they told potential tryouts that they would be providing a team therapist to help.
Forcing a team into the highest level, just because they tick a gender box, is extremely harmful to the foundation that CAH is trying to build.