ESPN has been getting more and more involved in eSports in recent times. It’s not all too uncommon these days to find eSports broadcast on one of ESPN’s platforms, and the company has a section entirely devoted to coverage of professional gaming. And with good reason, too. Recently, the Fortnite World Cup dished out $3 million to winner Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf as eSports becomes more mainstream.

This weekend, ESPN/ABC was scheduled to air highlights from an Apex Legends tournament at the recent X Games event as their eSports coverage continues to grow. However, it has now emerged that ESPN has postponed the broadcast of the Apex Legends tournament in the aftermath of the tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

eSports writer Rod Breslau detailed the developments on Twitter, and said that ESPN would air the tournament highlights in October while the entire tournament was still available for viewing online.

The decision to postpone the Apex Legends broadcast comes as some politicians (even the president himself) attempt to link video games to the horrific rise in mass shootings around the country. These connections are being made in spite of the fact that there’s no evidence correlating video games to mass shootings.

Apex Legends is a “battle royale” game made by Electronic Arts in the same genre as the hugely successful Fortnite. However, whereas Fortnite depicts a more cartoonish experience full of loot llamas, viral dances, and outlandish costumes and weapons, Apex Legends presents a more real-world alternative when battling to outlast and survive the competition.

In making this decision, ESPN (and Disney) is being keenly aware to the sensitivities of broadcasting a gaming event around a first-person shooter so close to the country being shaken to its core by two mass shootings happening less than 24 hours apart. It doesn’t seem as though there was any outside pressure on ESPN to make this decision to postpone coverage, but it’s likely that the company is trying to avoid being thrown into the current debates around video games and gun violence. Given ESPN’s current stance on the intersection of politics and sports, that comes as no surprise. And yet, there is the chance that ESPN potentially risks this turning into a larger story because of their decision instead of choosing to air the event as originally planned.

Some observers may see this as an overreaction from ESPN, while others will agree with the decision to show deference given current events. The broadcasts will still be available online for eSports fans, but it will remain to be seen when exactly they’ll be shown on TV.

Of course, given the proliferation of mass shootings and the gun violence epidemic in America, it’s fair to wonder if there will ever be a time that creates enough space from the next most recent tragedy that sadly afflicts our society.

[Photo Credit: esportsinsider]

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.