Melany Moncav •
May 16, 04:30
It’s been four days since Team SoloMid president Aleena “Leena” Xu leaked confidential information on Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s Twitch stream. The incident reignited the accusations of conflict of interest against TSM, but like every other drama in the community, people stopped talking about it and moved on.
But this leak was more than an isolated incident. It will have permanent effects on the career of jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, and it might affect the credibility of the LCS and its commissioner Chris Greeley.
The TSM conflict of interest AKA #TSMNoisegate, a summary: pic.twitter.com/sb9s0slJGa
— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) May 12, 2020
There two concepts that people are throwing around when talking about this issue, conflict of interest, and competitive integrity. What do we mean with these two terms that keep getting thrown around?
- Conflict of interest: A situation in which someone cannot make a fair decision because they will be affected by the result.
- Competitive integrity: The guarantee that a competition is fair and honest. It means that all teams are held to the same standards and that no team gets preferential treatment over the others.
With those concepts clarified, it’s necessary to take a look at the events to figure that took place and how TSM ended up in this mess.
TSM vs competitive integrity, a timeline
Doublelift, Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg are elected as executive officers at the NALCS Player Association. The NALCSPA is funded by Riot Games, and it appears to be more of a formality than an actual organization run by the players.
Pros also nominated and voted in Vincent @Biofrostlol Wang as the Secretary/Treasurer and Soren @Bjergsen Bjerg, Yiliang @TLDoublelift Peng, & Alfonso @mithytsm Aguirre Rodriquez as Vice Presidents. pic.twitter.com/mt7dkj5DLS
— NALCS Players Association (@NALCSPA) June 13, 2018
Doublelift and TSM President Leena start publicly dating.
Bjergsen is granted ownership of TSM. He remains as part of the NALCSPA, and this is the first stance of conflict of interest. A team owner cannot be involved in the NALCSPA.
Biofrost, Dardoch, and Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup join TSM.
April 16, 2020
After finishing the season in ninth place, Team Liquid reveals that Doublelift’s contract is up for trade. The community starts speculating that he might rejoin TSM. Doublelift spends a good part of the month around this revelation openly criticizing the coaching staff and, to a lesser extent, his former teammates over at Liquid. People assumed that the relationship went sour for all parties involved.
April 26, 2020
Doublelift officially rejoins TSM. The community starts talking about a possible conflict of interest. LCS commission, Chris Greeley releases a statement where he reveals that there’s no evidence of prohibited behavior.
Fans start wondering what will happen to Kobbe, who only played in North America for one split.
May 11, 2020
Kobbe is officially released from TSM, joining Misfits in the LEC.
Later in the day, Doublelift’s streams picks up part of a conversation when romantic partner Leena says: “It’s honestly not up to me. Like for example, no one wants to pick up Dardoch. That’s not my fault”.
Leena shares an apology on TwitLonger.
May 12, 2020
TSM’s Andy “Reginald” Dinh shares a public apology on Twitter.
May 13, 2020
Biofrost accidentally shows a Discord group that includes jungler Mingyi “Spica” Lu. Spica already played with the TSM LCS roster in 2019.
The LCS has yet to release any further statements regarding the situation.
What does the TSM and Doublelift controversy mean for the LCS?
Despite poor result in the past five splits, TSM remains the most popular organization in North America. At every international event, whether TSM is present or not, the audience chants the team’s name. TSM still attracts a broad audience of fans that are loyal to the organization. In a franchised league, TSM is every developer’s dream, a golden child.
The problems begin when your favorite child starts misbehaving.
This is not the first time that TSM has broken the rules, and it’s not the first time the LCS has seemed to turn a blind eye to the situation. In the past, TSM has been accused of tampering, intimidating journalists, and having shady business practices. No matter how many times TSM is accused, the LCS remains hesitant to punish the organization.
When commissioner Greeley deemed the Doublelift transfer as legal, the community raised an eyebrow. There wasn’t a paper trail. The parties involved lived together through the entire transfer. Now, by not taking a stance against this issue, commissioner Greeley is silently agreeing with TSM and proving once again that LCS rules don’t always apply to TSM.
It’s situations like this that end up tarnishing the reputation of the league as a whole. With every second that goes by, Greeley is losing more credibility. And how should other teams feel about the situation at TSM?
What does the controversy mean for Dardoch?
After Leena’s phone call, Dardoch has lost all of his bargaining power. Dardoch might accept a very low salary, or simply miss the summer split. Unlike other players that can bounce back from being dropped and become content creators, Dardoch is not that much of a streamer.
Who should be helping Dardoch in this situation? The NALCSPA, the same organization with three TSM players on the board.
The NALCSPA could intervene and try to protect Dardoch, but they likely won’t, due to an obviou conflict of interest. Why would Bjergsen act against the very team that he partly owns? Why would Doublelift act against his own girlfriend? Dardoch is the latest victim of TSM’s ongoing mess. The truth is, unless Dardoch settles for a much lesser contract, he might be done in the LCS.
While Dardoch’s career is perhaps close to being over, TSM and its executives can continue abusing their power in the LCS. More than ever before, it seems to fans that TSM is above the law.
[Update] TSM President Leena Xu apologizes for Dardoch call controversy | dardoch – Vietnamnhanvan
Team SoloMid‘s president Leena Xu has recently apologized over a private phone call that accidentally went public. The phone call, heard in the background of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s stream, revealed private business details about current TSM jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett. A tweet of the clip from the stream subsequently went viral.
Leena’s phone call about Dardoch
The phone call took place in the same room as Doublelift, where he was streaming a game to thousands of viewers. Viewers heard Leena speaking on the phone in the background of his stream.
In the exposed phone call, Leena spoke to an unknown person about Dardoch’s current business status, stating “no one wants to pick up Dardoch.” This indicated his potential exit from TSM, as she later stated that Dardoch has been considering leaving the organization for some time. He’s been playing with TSM since November 2019 into the 2020 Spring Split, where TSM finished in fourth place.
Since the clip spread, some people have stated the business call should have never happened in front of an employee (Doublelift), with whom Leena is in a relationship, and that it was an unprofessional move.
“It’s not up to me, for example, no-one wants to pick up Dardoch, that’s not my fault” was overheard. I’ve made sure to boost the audio so you can hear it clearly. pic.twitter.com/fGfIHTNbmH
— George Geddes (@GeorgeCGed) May 11, 2020
A formal apology
This issue left Leena with no choice but to publicly issue an apology. Before apologizing, she had gone on Reddit to explain herself in brief to a Reddit user, stating, “DL has streamed in the past while I was working and we didn’t have many issues. He changed his PC recently and didn’t change his default OBS settings so there is no noise gate up which I didn’t realize. Unfortunate mistake honestly.” Users continued to question her afterward, pointing out the call should have never happened in the same room as Doublelift.
Thus, in her actual apology she admitted the situation was “100%” her fault.
Apology to our community and Josh
— Leena Xu (@leena_xu) May 12, 2020
After the leaked clip went viral, Leena publicly apologized to the esports community and Dardoch over her “lapse of judgment on handling an important call next to a live stream.”
She continued to state that the phone call was over Dardoch’s possibility of joining another team. He was offered the option to split time and move to Academy but preferred to join another team for full-time play. Additionally, they tried their hardest to find other teams for him, and Dardoch is aware of every conversation.
At the end of the note, she apologized once more to Dardoch, wishing him the best.
It’s funny that you used to be known for being toxic but you’re actually the nicest person to me in my life 😳 pic.twitter.com/RuZj9C2K1p
— Leena Xu (@leena_xu) February 14, 2020
How does TSM proceed?
TSM fans are feeling different emotions right now, from confusion and anger to sympathy. The situation has put the team and Leena in a tough spot. As they are trying to prepare for the upcoming Summer Split, there’s no telling what will happen to Dardoch and who will replace him. Director of Esports for Evolved Talent Agency Barry Lee gave his input on the situation, stating the issue puts Dardoch in the worst position possible.
is seriously bad for your negotiating position. Now any team that approaches Dardoch can do so with the 100% knowledge there’s little to no demand for him.
— Barry Lee (이권문) 🎴 (@Eidelweiss) May 11, 2020
In the meantime, Dardoch has been quiet on Twitter. He recently liked a video of Puma’s esports head Matt Shaw, who sang a special song for him. Part of the lyrics says “Every team has its ups and downs / Sometimes ups outnumber the downs / Not at TSM.”
What do you think will happen to TSM and Dardoch? Let us know in the comments. Follow Daily Esports for more esports and gaming news.
DOUBLELIFT Crosses the Line with DARDOCH – Daily League Highlights
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