Kentucky high schools ban shooter game Fort nite from state sports programs
প্রকাশিত তারিখ : February 3, 2020 | আপডেট সময়: 2:29 PM
Fort nite has been banned from varsity sports programs in Kentucky by the state’s high school athletic association because of concerns about how it portrays gun violence. However, there is some confusion between the involved parties as to whether such a ban is applicable and whether it can be applied at all, given the details of the game’s implementation as an sport at the high school level.
The third-person shooter by Epic Games — which features no gore and has a cartoon aesthetic — was introduced last week as an sport at the high school and college levels via a partnership between Epic and Play Vs, an organization that offers sports programs in U.S. schools. Play Vs creates competitions by partnering with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NINTHS), including the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (SAKHA).
The recent announcement by Play Vs alarmed SAKHA Commissioner Julian Tacker, who sent an email to Kentucky school officials stating that “there is no place for shooter games in our schools,” reported the Lexington Herald-Leader. Tacker also cited the 2018 shooting at Marshall High School that killed two people and wounded a dozen others.
Neither the SAKHA, NINTHS nor the NINTHS Network had any knowledge of this addition and is strongly against it,” Tacker said in the email, which was also provided to The Washington Post. “This announcement was particularly troubling in that it came on the anniversary of one of Kentucky’s darkest days, the Marshall County incident.”
Tacker also alleges in the email that adding Fort nite “violates the contract signed by Play Vs and the NINTHS … and places the future of that program at peril.”
The impact and validity of the ban, or the role the NINTHS would play in high school-level Fort nite competitions is unclear. In an email to The Post last week clarifying the operation of the Fort nite competitions, a representative for Play Vs wrote that “Play Vs is operating a national club league for Fort nite with Epic” and that “schools opting into Fort nite will compete in a national club league, separate from their respective state associations.” High school Fort nite competitions would “function outside of our current partnerships with the NINTHS and individual state associations.
That was a distinction Play Vs CEO Deane Parnell drew in comments to The Post Wednesday night. Parnell said the organization operates on a scholastic level, which works with the state associations, and also as a business, offering programs at the club level. The Fort nite competitions would operate as the latter, with club activities not subject to the governance of NINTHS governance.
“We believe the confusion arose from smaller media publications misrepresenting what’s on our website, in our press release, and on our social media,” Parnell wrote in an emailed statement to The Post. Several articles last week heralded the announcement by stating Fort nite had become an “official” high school sport. “[Our postings] all say that Fort nite is a club league. Once we identified this confusion, we took steps to further clarify the scholastic/club distinction on our social channels and issued a clarification to media outlets.”
Tacker said the three organizations will review this with Kentucky’s Department of Education. A SAKHA spokesman told the Herald-Leader that the association feels all games must be “properly vetted” with other partners. The association previously approved League of Legends — a game that also features cartoon violence but doesn’t
Parnell said the organization understands Kentucky’s sensitivity around the issue.
“Our scholastic partnerships are vitally important for us and we’re working hand-in-hand with our partners to help these partnerships blossom,” Parnell said.
Play Vs and Fort nite developer Epic Games announced on Jan. 22 the first official Fort nite competitive series at the high school level, as well as its first officially sanctioned collegiate format with a national championship.
Epic, Play Vs introduce Fort nite sports circuit for colleges, high schools
Epic Games declined to comment on the ban.
The SAKHA website currently displays student and program information only for League of Legends, Rocket League and SMITE, the other three series offered by Play Vs.
This friction between Fortnights guns and high school programs comes at a time when Fort nite is increasingly becoming accepted and thought of more as a social media app and less as a video game. Last year, Netflix executives considered Fort nite, not HBO, as its biggest competitor.
And although the game was released in 2017, it was still 2019′s most profitable non mobile game, raking in $1.8 billion, down from 2018′s $2.4 billion haul.
The U.S.-eccentric issue of whether video games cause gun violence has now spanned three decades, despite analyses that have concluded there’s not enough data or evidence to prove a connection. The American Psychological Association says connecting the two is “problematic.”
A 2018 analysis by a Washington Post reporter found that if video games do cause violence, it happens only in the United States.
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