Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a game that brings out the best and worst in people. While it pushes ambitious players to maximize their potential in mouse precision and group communication, its highly competitive nature is a common source of frustration. In many cases, this results in bad manners between players, and even bullying.
Most of the CS:GO community is well acquainted with toxic behavior, to a point where it's to be expected whether you're in a casual pick up game, or a competitive match where your rank is on the line. But some players are targeted more than others, whether it be because of the way they play or their voice—voice communication is vital in CS:GO.
Adam "Loop" Bahriz is an example of someone who deals with toxic behavior on a routine basis. Born with a disease which has left him legally blind and deaf, he is able to play video games, although with a significant handicap. As seen on Twitch, he plays with his face just a few inches from the monitor due to an obstructed cornea, relying on incredible aim and situational awareness to make up for his poor vision and inability to hear footsteps, to a point where he's currently ranked Legendary Eagle—a rank that only 9% of the community has ever achieved.
After visiting the dentist for a serious operation which further impacted his speech, Loop queued up for a competitive match in CS:GO this morning. Specifically, he entered a game on ESEA, one of the most highly competitive third-party platforms available for the game.
Before the beginning of the first round, Loop made an effort to alert his teammates to his situation, knowing that there's an expectation for players to communicate early and often. He said:
The response from his teammates wasn't what he was hoping for. The team of players, consisting of GodManiac, Adviko, D34TH, and MadDecent- immediately went on offense, initially calling him "annoying". "You're muted already", said GodManiac after Loop tried to communicate further.
Loop would remain quiet for the first five rounds after saying "ok i wont talk", each of which his team would win decisively. On the sixth round, the team would lose for their first time, and would proceed to kick Loop citing "no comms" as the reason. Loop was then placed on a temporary queue ban.
More importantly, Loop wasn't treated like an equal human being, he was treated like he wasn't worth being in the server, or worth common decency. And it wasn't because he played poorly. In-fact, he had the second best KDR in the server at the time of being kicked (5-1). Instead, he was treated differently because his voice didn't sound "normal".
Loop has a rare genetic disease called HSAN type 2. He's lost all but three of his teeth, most of his nose, has experienced a multitude of fractures, and despite this manages to carry a great attitude.
As with many people, Loop looks to video games as an outlet. The world isn't always a nice place, but when you're behind a TV or monitor it all seems to fade away. That is, unless you're playing multiplayer and someone decides to bring reality into the virtual world.
This is a friendly reminder to treat one another with respect. You never know what someone is going through. You might feel like whatever you're dealing with is the worst it could ever be, but there's always someone out there who has it equally as bad or worse than you. That person might not show any signs of going through something, keeping it to his or herself when around others, but dealing with it in private when nobody is around.
This is just a story from one individual, a person who has to deal with a lot and has decided to broadcast his point of view on Twitch publicly. You can bet there are thousands of others who don't share their experience, or can't.
If you'd like to show Loop some support, or just want to see magic unfold as he destroys opponents despite his disability, you can visit his Twitch stream here. Just do yourself a favor and don't read Twitch chat.