Female Players Are Allegedly Being Excluded From VCT Tryouts by Male VALORANT Professionals

Last night, esports journalist Rod “Slasher” Breslau made an appearance on VCT caster Sean Gares’ livestream, during which they explored the persistent issue of highly skilled and popular female VALORANT players, such as Melanie “meL” Capone from Version1, being consistently denied opportunities to even audition for top-tier teams.

On the stream, Slasher revealed, “I’ve received firsthand information explaining why this happens, particularly in meL’s case. She has made multiple attempts to practice with tier one teams, but on each occasion, there was at least one male player on the team who expressed reluctance to play alongside a woman. Consequently, she never progressed to the tryout phase.”

MeL is recognized as the second-most accomplished in-game leader in the global VALORANT Game Changers ecosystem, with only G2 captain Michaela “mimi” Lintrup surpassing her. During her tenure with Cloud9, her team dominated North America, clinching six NA Game Changers titles between 2021 and 2022. Nevertheless, it appears that gender bias within top-tier teams is erecting an insurmountable barrier even for her.

This issue is not unique to esports and has been observed, especially in tactical first-person shooters like VALORANT and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Slasher pointed out a similar ordeal experienced by mimi during her time as a CS:GO professional, stating, “I heard the exact same story in Counter-Strike. [mimi] was the top female player… They won every championship in the women’s league, she excelled, and she was the standout player on her team. Yet, when I spoke to her, she revealed that she couldn’t even secure tryouts with tier two or even tier three teams, all for the same reason – players on those teams were unwilling to practice with a woman.”

Julia “juliano” Kiran, another renowned figure in the women’s Counter-Strike scene, echoed this sentiment, recalling that she faced similar discrimination when performing at her peak. She advocated for mixed-gender teams and pointed out that her attempts at tryouts and team placements were obstructed by male players who were unwilling to collaborate with a female gamer.

Some of the most promising talents in the current Game Changers scene, like Ava “florescent” Eugene from Version1, have expressed their aspirations to join franchised league teams in the future. However, these ambitions may be short-lived if such discriminatory practices persist.

In light of these experiences, it is evident that both the organizations behind these teams and the VCT itself must take proactive measures to prevent male players from obstructing the opportunities of their female counterparts if we genuinely wish to give the best players a fair chance.

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