Moving the Counter-Strike world entirely online has presented a handful of problems few could have predicted. Pro players are exhausted, the Counter-Strike Pro Players Association is under scrutiny, and nearly everyone is convinced there will be no Major in 2020. All of those are important, but they pale in comparison to the unwarranted abuse and harassment Nathan "leaf" Orf received as a result of his performance in a single best-of three a few weeks ago.
In the upper bracket quarterfinal of the cs_summit 6 regional qualifier, Chaos beat MIBR in a close series in which leaf posted a 64-58 scoreline. It wasn’t the most impressive on paper, but his performance was key to their victory. The result was marred, though, when multiple prominent members of the community quickly suspected the 16-year-old and his teammate Erick “Xeppaa” Bach cheated.
Alexandre "gAuLeS" Borba in particular interrupted his broadcast of the event to point out moments in which it appeared leaf had “locked-on” to MIBR players. As far as I’m aware, he was not punished or even warned by the tournament organizer about prompting the Brazilian fans to attack Chaos players. He hasn't apologized and has since doubled down on the accusation, and he shouldn't be featured on an event anytime soon. Any tournament organizer giving him a platform will signal that they value numbers over the treatment and safety of the players in their events.
Gabriel “Fallen” Toledo said in a now deleted tweet, “I don't like to accuse anyone of cheating without evidence, they've done this to me in the past and it can be a great injustice. Let's wait for the championship to find out is just what we can do. I found the uploaded clips suspicious, yes.” As a result of what gAuLeS and Fallen said publicly, the entire Chaos team was repeatedly attacked and threatened by members of the Brazilian community.
Fallen is no stranger to accusations either, having received them on numerous occasions throughout his extensive Counter-Strike career. He knows how it feels being on the receiving end of baseless accusations that lack any sort of fundamental proof, and he has seen first hand the extremes fan bases -- specifically the Brazilian one in CS:GO -- will go to when they feel wronged. Despite being on both sides of the equation previously, it didn’t stop him from throwing fuel on the fire. It is not OK to weaponize your fan base and/or refuse to defuse the situation publicly, no matter how dodgy those clips look.
Unknown players are often accused or labeled as cheaters because it seems as if they have appeared from nowhere. It's an easy assumption to make in an online world that allows the accuser to avoid accepting they were beat fair and square by a newcomer. One of the most famous occurrences was with Robin "ropz" Kool, who surged through the FACEIT Pro League rankings and was met with enormous amounts of suspicion from professional players in 2017. More recently was Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut, who many had expressed to me privately was “without a doubt cheating.” History tells us that if you are receiving accusations from top pro players, you’re probably just a good player in the making.
Can I say for certain leaf and Xeppaa aren’t cheaters? No, no one can. Equally as impossible though, is saying that they are. Clips that show a crosshair landing on someone through a wall a couple of times are not proof, no matter how badly people want them to be. It is not fair to belittle and harass players based on very circumstantial coincidences. I urge everyone to watch this video that shows why some of the clips cannot possibly be the result of cheats. While it doesn't clear them of everything, it helps understand why clips can be so misleading. For now, all I can do is express how upsetting it is to see someone harassed and try to discourage people from doing it in the future.