The COVID-19 pandemic required social distancing and the hardships of transitioning an entire multimillion-dollar endeavor into an online product hasn't only affected the players and coaches of the Overwatch League, but the casters as well.
For Robert "Hexagrams" Kirkbride, his breaking point came this 15th August during the official OWL broadcast of the APAC region, where Hex was scheduled to lend his commentary skills for two matches — Seoul Dynasty vs New York Excelsior, and Shanghai Dragons vs London Spitfire.
Fans were left shocked and confused after Hex constantly derailed broadcast with a series of rambling comments that left viewers questioning whether the caster was sleep deprived or even drunk. Threads and comments filled up Reddit, Twitter, and even the YouTube VODs, all commenting on Hex's antics.
Some of the most bizarre moments include Hexagrams stating that he doesn't know "who sponsors this (OWL's player of the match award) nor do I care," openly cursing at Spitfire's players saying they were pulling a lot of "dumb sh*t" against the Dragons, and just generally losing his train of thought, dragging out words and displaying mannerisms that would make anyone believe he was working intoxicated.
Fans speculated that Hex was brought in to the broadcast with little prep time, as the usual APAC caster Wolf Schröder is dealing with visa issues. However, he was scheduled for both matches alongside Jack "Jaws" Wright, with the latter unable to participate due to technical difficulties, leading to the unusual pairing of Hex and Seth "Achilios" King.
Whatever the reasons for the pairing, the chemistry was clearly off, with Achilios attempting to keep Hex's unusual comments to a minimum during the broadcast. So strange were they that viewers described Hex as both sleep-deprived and drunk.
Okay.. I don't want to be mean, but is @hexagrams legit high or drunk af on broadcast right now? He seems totally out of it.. that or it seems like he hasn't followed APAC in a long time and is just winging it yet blurting out the hottest takes. Someone save @AchiliosCasts lol— kïtsune (@jaime_banno) August 15, 2020
However, Hexagrams disputes the notion that he was drunk, releasing a statement after the furore where he claimed that his "mental" broke.
"Hey, sometimes your mental breaks. Sometimes it's been six months looking at the same walls and you have to take sleeping pills and work at 1 am," explained Hexagram, adding: "Sometimes your mental breaks and that's okay."
Hey, sometimes your mental breaks. Sometimes it's been six months looking at the same walls and you have to take sleeping pills and work at 1am.— hexagrams (@hexagrams) August 15, 2020
Sometimes your mental breaks and that's okay.
Hexagrams is clearly feeling burnt out, a mix of work duties and the lockdown that has preceded the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone. Let's hope he gets the break he so clearly needs.