I have a huge issue with people calling them "athletes".
Watch from about 1:38 and imagine that they're talking about the super bowl or something. Silly children and their basketball games.
The problem with this is all semantic. Maybe it doesn't seem right to call them "athletes" but the simple fact is that they are doing things that most people just aren't capable of. They train for hours on end and learn the ins and outs of the game they play while also keeping a mind on the meta game... knowing tendencies of opponents and how to counter what may get thrown at them. It's stuff that the majority of people don't have the ability or dedication to do. And all of that can be said for the traditional "athlete" as well. This is the same conversation that has been had for race car drivers, golfers, bowlers, poker players... where you have people who play games of skill versus games of athletic ability... whether you think they should be labeled as athletes or not, the rest of these people are shown and covered on ESPN in one way or another.
It does seem ridiculous to have a group of people who know not a single bit about these games or events render judgement on them... and even more ridiculous that any of us give a shit.
ESPN has poker championships on every 6 months or so.