V1 meL sets record straight on co-ed team talk
After a VALORANT community-wide discussion was kicked loose by a comment from esports journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau, stating that Melanie "meL" Capone has been denied multiple opportunities at the professional top level in VALORANT due to sexism, meL has commented and clarified on the matter.
Correcting the record
In a comprehensive response to recent discussions regarding her experiences with trying out for professional VALORANT teams, meL explained why she was denied opportunities to trial with several co-ed teams over the years.
During a stream with content creator Sean Gears, Slasher had stated that an unwillingness to play with women on professional teams was ubiquitous in VALORANT professional teams, stating:
"She has tried to practice with multiple times to practice with Tier 1 teams and every single time there was at least one player on each team that said that they did not want to play with a woman."
In her response, meL clarified her missed opportunities, stating that there were several reasons she had been unable to join professional VALORANT organisations and create co-ed teams.
These obstacles spanned from financial aspects such as teams not willing to cover her buyout fee to being seen as "too valuable of an asset" for the organisation to consider a trade.
However, she did confirm that she had been informed that for at least one opportunity, a male player had communicated that he wouldn’t be comfortable playing with a woman.
"I let it rest and have not spoken about it so as not to risk being viewed as a liability to other teams," she stated. meL expressed her initial reluctance to bring this matter to the fore but felt compelled to share her truth amidst rising speculation and misinformation.
She emphasised that while she had encountered adversities, her journey in VALORANT esports has largely been supported by the community.
The pro player noted the strong backing she has received from professionals in specifically the VALORANT community, stating, "I would NEVER be where I am today without their support."
"I’ve never felt this kind of support from any other esport," she said, appreciating the VALORANT professional community for making her feel welcomed and for being her "most important allies."
Slasher Clarifies His Remarks
Known esports journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau clarified his earlier remarks regarding the issue in a tweet. While acknowledging the existence of biases against women in esports, he pointed out that attributing all the instances where meL was denied trials to gender discrimination was "incorrect."
Slasher acknowledged instances where reasons "had zero to do with sexism," including meL's buyout fees being a limiting factor. Nonetheless, he emphasized that meL "deserves to be in the conversation" regarding the current free agent transfer market.
Slasher urged for more inclusion in esports, asserting that mixed-gender teams "should absolutely be more commonplace," especially in scenes rich with female talent like in VALORANT and CS.