The iBuyPower Conundrum
On January 25th 2015, the former iBuyPower squad which consisted of Sam “DaZeD” Marine, Joshua “steel” Nissan, Braxton “swag” Pierce and Keven “AZK” Larivière were found guilty of match-fixing and banned indefinitely. Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham was implicated to have been involved in the scandal through the accounts of the events by DaZeD and steel, but was never found guilty by Valve due to a lack of evidence. Then a year later on January 5th 2016, the aforementioned players were ruled by Valve to be permanently banned from Valve-sponsored events, ultimately putting an end to their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) careers.
Initially, many in the CS:GO community deemed this to be a fitting punishment to such a heinous orchestra of dishonesty. However, as time went by, these same people who thought the iBuyPower squad deserved the punishment had their change of hearts and thought of it to be too harsh. Many also cited the handling of a similar scandal over at Dota2 involving Alexei “Solo” Berezin who went to bet against his own team and winning $322 in return and received a one-year ban from competitive play by Valve. But the two scandals were handled differently because the players involved reacted differently. The iBuyPower squad denied all allegations of match-fixing when confronted by anyone at all, even Valve. They were only banned when Richard Lewis provided Valve with substantial evidence to have them convicted. On the other hand, Solo almost immediately admitted to betting against his own team and trying to throw the match (to which he succeeded) when confronted by Valve. One can say that the permanent ban was not directly a result of the act of match-fixing, but rather the fierce denials made by the players.
While AZK departed the CS:GO scene almost immediately after the scandal and dived into Overwatch upon its release with some success, DaZeD, steel and swag decided to stick around. Swag decided to stay low following the scandal but DaZeD and steel were actively live streaming. As of late, swag was seen at cs_summit with Cloud9, having a little taste of top level competition after a long hiatus, while DaZeD and steel were seen at ESL and ECS broadcasts respectively as casters and analysts. The trio of what is left of the former iBuyPower squad are still steadily gaining followers and fans in the community. There have been dozens of attempts by their fans to have their voices heard by Valve to review the decision on the ban but to no avail. It is as though the scandal never happened in the eyes of Valve.
Will we ever see the former iBuyPower players back on the playing field, or would their legacy ever be tarnished by a mistake until the day these players fade to obscurity?