Sh1ro, Interz Unfairly Accused of Supporting Russia Over CS:GO Major Stickers
Majority of the CS:GO community stands in support of the two players.
Valve released a huge update for CS:GO today which brought with it the Antwerp Major team stickers, player autographs, viewer pass, and more. Two particular player signature stickers seem to have caused a bit of a commotion within the community, as Russian players Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov and Timofey "interz" Yakushin became targets of unfair accusations over alleged usage of the 'Z' symbol in their submitted autographs.
The letter 'Z' is being used as a pro-Russian symbol in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, with some known personalities like French journalist neL, Ivan "Johnta" Shevtsov, and Piotr "izak" Skowyrski calling out the two players as their stickers could be interpreted as a sign of support for the war.
However, the situation can be broken down further to see that the players are absolutely not at fault in this particular case and that the majority of the community supporting them has no reason to fret.
Russian CS:GO players called out for alleged usage of the 'Z' symbol in CS:GO Major stickers
While the community was busy celebrating the fact that all the participating players would be receiving their own signature stickers, two Russian players signed by Cloud9 were called out for something that was clearly not intended by them.
French journalist neL through a now-deleted Tweet was amongst the first to state that the 'Z' scribbled by sh1ro at the bottom of his name could be interpreted as support towards the invasion of Ukraine.
This was followed by former player and current Polish caster izak tweeting something similar about sh1ro and interz stickers, "These are not the times when you make such 'blunders' unintentionally. It is said that esport is above war and divisions, and the players themselves should be glad that they were admitted to the competition given the sporting situation."
Ukrainian coach Johnta also tweeted on this very particular thing calling the addition of the symbol very strange as there was a possibility to avoid "the modern swastika".
However, some insight provided by Canadian caster Mohan "launders" Govindasamy and esports journalist Richard Lewis clarified the situation completely.
Richard pointed out that the design was not made by sh1ro himself but by Gambit's graphic designer, Pavel Ilyashenko.
He also pointed out that the squiggle symbol was even used by Valve as an example of an acceptable style as per Valve's official submission guide.
It was further revealed by Pavel Ilyashenko that the signature had been submitted to Valve before the invasion. The same was also echoed by ENCE AWPer - Aleksander "hades" Miskiewicz who said, "They had already asked for signatures at the beginning of February".
The majority of the CS:GO community seems to be in support of the two players, pointing out that other stickers like that of Lincoln "fnx" Lau having a similar scribble.
Both sh1ro and interz are part of the North American esports organization Cloud9 along with the rest of the Gambit Esports roster who have secured themselves a slot in the legends stage of the PGL Antwerp Major 2022.