Sports network ESPN was set to air an Apex Legends tournament this weekend, but will be stalling the broadcast out to October. Following several mass shooting events over the last weekend, USgamer has confirmed that the broadcast has been pushed back "out of respect for the victims and all those impacted by the recent shootings."
Reports first came about from esports journalist Rod Breslau, who shared a message sent to an ABC affiliate on August 6. USG confirmed this information, and that the broadcast version of the ESPN invitational will take place on three nights in October instead. A source familiar with the situation says the decision seemed the "prudent thing to do given the swirl of the moment."
This comes in the wake of several shootings, in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which resulted in 31 total dead. Despite being a sci-fi, futuristic battle royale, it seems the network still feels this is the right call to make. Apex Legends developer Respawn did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.
Other major entities are responding to the violence as well. Walmart is reportedly notifying its employees to remove violent video game ads, as well as violent movies from televisions in the Electronics section and hunting ads. Guns, however, are reportedly staying on the shelves.
This adds a little fuel to the fire of the ongoing scapegoating of video games for gun violence, though ESPN's move seems more well-intentioned. Video game industry figures have expressed their disagreement over comments made recently by President Donald Trump and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who both attributed the surge in gun violence to video games.
I still don't get the 'games cause violence' argument- Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) August 8, 2019
all other western countries added up: violent games + no guns -> 0.02 mass shootings a day in 2019 (adjusted for US population)
USA: violent games + guns everywhere -> 1.13 mass shootings a day in 2019
The entire tournament is still available on ESPN Esports' YouTube page. Broadcast versions of it will air on October 6, 15, and 27 on ESPN2.