After seven months at the helm, Kate Mitchell (Assistant GM for the Washington Justice) will be retiring at the end of Stage 2. Her final day in the position will be May 13th.
Mitchell will be releasing a full statement regarding her decision later in the day but has allowed The Game Haus to review the statement and utilize excerpts of the piece for additional context and understanding of the move.
“I’ve had irreplaceable experiences in this community and made friends that will last a lifetime,” Mitchell said. “It’s impossible to ignore, though, that I’ve also been confronted with toxicity and cruelty from strangers that outpaced anything I saw in years in gaming and politics, especially from people on Reddit.”
Mitchell has faced criticism throughout her seven-month tenure as Assistant General Manager for the Justice. “I wanted nothing more than to ‘power through’ and succeed in the face of adversity, and blaze a trail for other LGBT women to follow me in this space,” Mitchell told the Game Haus. “But facing this away from my family and my home turned out to be a bigger challenge than I was able to take on — I saw myself, like many in this league, facing frequent panic attacks and needing to see a therapist for anxiety for the first time in five years.”
Mitchell’s exit from the Overwatch League is another in a growing list of player and staff retirements. Hyeon “EFFECT” Hwang and Christian “Cocco” Jonsson from the Dallas Fuel, Atlanta’s Daniel “Dafran” Francesca and Toronto’s Dohyung “Stellar” Lee have all stepped away from the league within the past month. Concerns regarding mental strain and burnout are ever-present and growing stronger by the day. Mitchell implored pros struggling with their workload to reach out to their teams for help – “If your team can’t provide it, you deserve a better team. Period.”
Next Steps and Last Goodbyes
Towards the tail end of our conversation, Mitchell explained what kept her going in her position for as long as she did, and who she has to thank for that longevity. “The reason I made it as long as I did is simple: The people here at Justice are some of the best folks I’ve ever worked with.”
“I also wanted to thank the folks from other teams who have provided support and advice in difficult times. There’s nothing more powerful than solidarity, and I’m so proud to have been a part of your Overwatch League family. My sincerest thanks go to the owners of Washington Justice for believing in me, our fans (including the amazing folks at Washington Justice League) for supporting all of us, and the players, coaches and staff at this organization for all of the incredible memories.”
With her tenure in Washington ending on the 13th, Mitchell is excited to see where the road takes her next. With a wide range of experience in a variety of fields, it’s no stretch to say that Mitchell won’t stay out of work for long. “I’ve got a number of opportunities in the creative space I’m looking forward to pursuing,” she said. “Maybe I’ll even return to casting? Hit me up, Broadcast.gg.”
After an OWL experience as… unique as Mitchell’s, she closed out our conversation with a pair of warnings.
“For players: The difference in attention between T2 and OWL is massive. In Overwatch League, you have to completely re-evaluate your relationship to social media. Change how you’re notified of things, filter your experiences more, et cetera. For fans: Treat the things you say online like the person you’re talking about is going to read it. Because no matter how much advice to the contrary, they get…they probably are.”
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