On Sunday afternoon, compLexity Gaming’s founder and CEO Jason Lake released an open letter on TwitLonger to Valve co-founder Gabe Newell. The subject of the letter was Braxton “swag” Pierce who, in January, was permanently banned from any and all Valve-sponsored events following a match-fixing scandal that took place during CEVO Season 5.

In the letter, Lake pleaded on behalf of the Counter-Strike player in the hopes that Newell would take heart and lift the ban that has all but annihilated his career. While he explained that he agrees that the punishment does, in fact, fit the crime and that he hates the idea of match-fixing as much as anyone else does, Lake said he didn’t believe that things were not handled properly in the case of swag.

“Braxton was not an adult who was thumbing his nose at the rules while being fully aware of the potential consequences,” Lake said in his letter, “Braxton was a minor who made a foolish decision for which there was no precedent in the Counter-Strike world. He was young and easily influenced by his older teammates.”

One of the biggest arguments that rose up while the bans were a hot topic was that swag, who was seventeen at the time of the fixed match against NetcodeGuides.com, didn’t deserve to be punished on the same level as other players. It was reported by several groups that he allowed himself to be pushed into a bad situation by his teammates, but it is difficult to confirm the legitimacy of these claims. The Daily Dot’s Bryce Blum also argued that, if we were to look at this from a criminal justice standpoint, that a minor should not be held as accountable as his adult teammates for the same reason that the age of majority exists within US courts.

Jason Lake continued onwards in his article to tackle another argument made by the community: There had previously been no knowledge of what kind of punishment would be dealt for this kind of poor behavior.

“This is what continues to nag my conscience: a young man succumbed to peer pressure and quickly made a poor decision having absolutely no idea of the consequences because there was no precedent,” Lake said, “Everyone now knows the punishment for this ‘crime.’ However, Braxton did not know. This bothers me. It bothers me as a father. It bothers me as a gamer. I feel in this specific case, justice wasn’t served.”

Lake closed out the letter by confirming that he has nothing to gain by swag’s ban being overturned. Swag has not played on compLexity Gaming since March of 2014 and most recently played as a temporary stand-in for Cloud9 at the FACEIT Pro League – North America in February. Lake said that he wrote the letter as a gamer and a loyal Valve supporter that holds contempt for those who manipulate the game for profit. He says that he believes Newell would be open to reviewing swag’s case because he’s, “Always given a damn. That’s why we love you.”

Neither Valve nor Gabe Newell have responded to the letter yet.

About The Author

Sian R
eSports Director | Streamer

Sian is a self-proclaimed Star Wars historian, Fatal Frame enthusiast and crazy cat lady that's fascinated by the Kpop mashups on YouTube. Professional gaming is something that's fascinated him ever since he was a wee lad, especially when it came to fighting games, so now he rambles on about it in the form of articles that use way too many commas.