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U.S. Army Esports Team May Have Violated the First Amendment During Twitch Stream

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The US Army Esports team recently dealt with some issues with one of their live Twitch streams where chatters asked about war crimes, and have been banning users who bring up the topic, however they may find themselves in more trouble for taking that route.

According to Vice, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that’s a violation of the first amendment’s free speech protections.

The Army’s foray into the world of esports teams was intended to help recruit, but it seems that it has, and is continuing to go, horribly wrong and Army content creators behind the channel’s efforts are receiving backlash as a result.

“It looks like what happened was a violation of the First Amendment,” Vera Eidelman, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project said, per the report.

According to Vice, the ACLU isn’t the only brand that is taking issue with the US Army’s actions, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

As a reminder, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University is the law firm that successfully sued Donald Trump when he blocked people on his Twitter account (see here).

“As a general rule, as established in our case against Trump, if a government agency or branch of the military operates a social media platform or a website, and they allow people generally to post comments then typically that would be considered a public forum,” Katie Fallow, a Senior Staff Attorney with Knight, told VICE over the phone. “If the Army run Twitch channel is a public forum, then deleting comments or blocking people from commenting based on their viewpoints, such as asking about military crimes, would violate the first amendment.”

“You’re not looking at what Twitch’s functionalities are because the real concern here is that the government, by banning these comments, was censoring speech based on viewpoint,” Fallow said. Fallow also pointed out that the U.S. Army’s own stated rules for the chat room didn’t prohibit asking questions about war crimes.

“You have to apply your own rules uniformly and without viewpoint” she said. “None of these rules cover what those comments were.”

“The U.S. Army eSports Team follows the guidelines and policies set by Twitch,” a representative of the U.S. Army esports team and military streamers said in an official statement. “The team viewed the user’s question as a violation of Twitch’s harassment policy and banned the user. We fully support users’ rights to express themselves, but we will not support harassment of our Soldiers on our forums.”

Twitch has declined to comment on Vice’s story, and even referred Vice to it’s FAQs on bans and suspensions.

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NAVI Releasing Documentary on s1mple

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NAVI is getting set to release a documentary that will follow s1mple’s life and explore his “ups and downs” as one of the most recognizable esports players with insight from former and current teammates, his family, commentators, analysts, and “many others” from the industry.

“I remember the time when we just signed a contract in 2016,” NAVI CEO Yevhen Zolotarov said in an official press release. “Honestly, now it’s hard to believe that it was already five years ago. For the esports industry, five years is quite a long period of time.”

“S1mple is a legend not only for NAVI but for esports in general,” co-founder and CEO of DMarket Vlad Panchenko said. “Therefore, the items that will be dropping during the NAVI watch party stream are also legendary and unique.”

DMarket has created a “unique drop-game” with exclusive items dedicated to s1mple to coincide with the release of the doc, and Natus Vincerewill be premiering a documentary about him on Twitch next month, to celebrate his fifth year with the brand.

Additionally, a NAVI watch party is also set for the doc, set to air on one of their upcoming twitch streams set to take place on September 8th at 11am CT.

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Pengu Retires From Rainbow Six, Focusing on Content Creation

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Niclas ‘Pengu’ Mouritzen, who made a name for himself in the Rainbow Six universe and is considered one of the best players in the world, has officially announced his retirement from the game so that he can focus his attention on content creation.

“It’s been FIVE years. Five years of living my childhood dream, and getting to experience the most incredible things. I have stepped down as an active pro league player active as of this tweet,” Pengu said in a statement issued on his official Twitter page. “I can’t wait to show you what the future holds. But for now, we gotta be patient.”

G2 released a video to honor his contributions to the team, and his incredible career.

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Astralis Mid Laner ‘Nukeduck’ Steps Away from LEC Starting Lineup

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Astralis Mid Laner Erlend “nukeduck” Våtevik Holm is stepping away from the LEC starting lineup due to “personal reasons”, according to DOT Esports.

In a corresponding move, Astralis is currently in talks with other midlaners outside of the LEC, with free agent such as Felix “MagiFelix” Boström being among the names. MagiFelix parted ways with Fnatic last November.

Currently, Astralis has only one victory on the LEC, and is tied for ninth place with team Vitality, posting a 1-6 record over the first three weeks of competition.

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