ESPN Delays Apex Legends Esports Broadcast Following Mass Shootings
ESPN has decided to delay a planned broadcast of an Apex Legends esports tournament following this month’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.ESPN originally planned to broadcast a taped Apex Legends competition across various Disney-owned channels, including APC, ESPN2, and ESPNEWS. Those plans have seemingly changed following two mass shootings that occurred last weekend, 13-hours apart. Apex Legends is Respawn Entertainment’s free-to-play, battle royale first-person shooter.
Esports reporter Rod Breslau first published an internal memo sent to ABC Affiliates explaining that ABC will, “no longer air ‘EXP Invitational Apex Legends at X Games‘ on Sunday, August 11, 2019 in the 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET/3:00 4:00 PM PT time period.” Bloomberg confirmed these plans with an anonymous, internal source.
The memo states the decision was made “out of respect for the victims and all those impacted by the recent shootings[.]”
Instead, ESPN2 will reportedly broadcast the taped Apex Legends segment in October. The Apex Legends competition will also be available this weekend on ESPN’s digital channels via the official ESPN app.
President Donald Trump and other lawmakers have blamed violent video games as a cause for the recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. There is, however, no scientific evidence that links violence with video games.
That hasn’t stopped stores like Walmart from taking down images and ads for violent games from its stores, even as the retail chain continues to sell guns. The NRA also blames video games in the wake of mass shootings and have done so several times in the past.
As America grapples with another mass shooting, discussions about video games and their supposed influence over public violence will likely continue.