Army eSports is back after feud with AOC ends

Jack Murphy
August 06, 2020 - 4:36 pm
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images


The Army eSports team had paused the live streaming of their soldiers playing video games after controversially banning and blocking users who asked them about war crimes on Twitch. On top of that, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, introduced an amendment into a fiscal bill in Congress which would have blocked the military from doing any type of online recruiting with video games, claiming that the military was targeting young children and turning war into a game.

The Army and Navy have both started eSports teams in order to raise awareness of military service and to aid in recruiting young people into the military. Having recruiters hand out pamphlets outside a shopping mall is not really how young people receive information in 2020, rather they consume media on their cell phones and video game consoles. Following that logic, the Department of Defense made a decision to go where young people hang out: in video games.

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Many video game players use online streaming services such as Twitch and eSports -- platforms specifically built for playing video games competitively. Don't laugh: the industry pulled in well over a billion dollars last year and has millions of viewers.

The amendment introduced by Ocasio-Cortez would have barred DOD from using funds to use video games for any type of recruitment, effectively killing their eSports teams. That amendment was handily defeated in Congress, losing the vote by 292-126.

"The team is reviewing and clarifying its policies and procedures for the stream and will provide all who have been banned the opportunity to participate in the space as long as they follow the team's guidelines," an Army spokesperson told Newsweek. "The team will resume streaming on Twitch in the near future, but a specific date has not been set at this time. Personal attacks, crude language, pornographic material, harassment and bullying will not be tolerated on the stream, and action will be taken if individuals choose to engage in this behavior."

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Reach Jack Murphy: or @JackMurphyRGR.