In another instance of professional Call of Duty players taking to social media to express their feelings, the players on recently Call of Duty World League (CWL) qualified Apotheon eSports stirred up a bit of drama yesterday with a series of tweets about being “screwed over”.
The Apotheon eSports players (Phizzurp, Legal, Fears, and Lacefield) each took to Twitter and posted several frustrated tweets that have since been deleted. The little information they provided was quickly absorbed by the Call of Duty community that is largely present on the social media platform and rumors began to circulate. The most rampant rumor was that Apotheon had dropped their entire roster just days after qualifying for the Call of Duty World League.
Some said that the team owners played the game and wanted to play in the CWL themselves. Others intervened and said that this wasn’t possible because a team must keep at least two players from their original roster to play in the league. Of course, this information would have to be stated in the league handbook that has not been publicly shared, but similar rules from the Call of Duty Championship are likely in play.
Others began to wonder about Team SoloMid’s involvement in the ordeal, considering the eSports giant just recently announced they were looking for a Call of Duty roster. Fellow eSports organization Cloud 9 also announced they were looking for a roster, and to many people’s surprise signed on an unqualified team (Merk, Silly, Mochila, Burnsoff). With big names stepping into the Call of Duty scene after the Call of Duty World League Qualifiers, in which the best teams from North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand already made it into the league, it was assumed that they would be buying out a roster. A team like Apotheon eSports seemed like a perfect organization to contact, being that they are new and have never had a Call of Duty team in the top tier of the eSport before.
With the storyline that TSM was busy trying to buy out the players from Apotheon to take their league spot, even more rumors began to spread. Not knowing much about Apotheon eSports, people assumed that the players were not under contract or had only signed a contract to play for the qualifier and nothing further. Most agreed that the organization did not have the players under salary, but that the players had signed with them simply so they could have travel costs to Burbank covered. With the info that Activision had actually paid for all the players to attend the event, the general conclusion was that Apotheon had tricked the players into playing under their banner, but since they league spot belongs to the organization and not the players (also information not readily available), there was nothing the players could do.
Aches, a Call of Duty Champion and player for Team EnVyUs, went as far as to say, “Really sucks for the AES players. That org doesn’t deserve the spot and did nothing for it.” He did put some fault on the players though, saying, “Players made a mistake but spot should be theirs,” in reference to them signing with Apotheon eSports for the qualifier.
Things got a bit hectic on Twitter and the discussion even spilled over to Reddit, so the Apotheon CEO put out a statement late that night to set things straight. The statement read,
I’m sincerely disheartened at the lack of professionalism I’ve seen in the past hour, from teams, players, owners and organizations. My goal from day one has been to professionalize eSports in any way that I can moving forward and creating a better community atmosphere. So let’s address the current situation and lay all the rumors to rest.
First off, we have NOT, I repeat, NOT been offered any amount of compensation for the acquisition of our roster and CWL league spot. All those saying C9 & TSM have made offers that we’ve refused, causing our players to miss out on an “opportunity of a lifetime,” have been utterly misled. There have been NO offers up to this point.
Secondly, all of this could have been avoided had the parties disputing their contract informed us of their unreasonable demands ahead of time. We gave our players a fair contract(we gave them what they asked for).They signed that contract. We’ve held up everything in that contract. We also issued each player a non-contracted cash bonus as a gift for attending the event. We also, on Monday, were in touch with the board of directors to possibly acquire a team house. No one in their right mind can expect to have all these sudden demands met 2 days after qualification.
We’ve shown nothing but loyalty and have been shown disrespect that was completely unwarranted by both, the parties involved and the community.
People are under the impression that we are allowed to drop our roster but no one has even looked at the rules long enough to educate themselves properly. We have to hold 2 players from the qualifying team in order to hold the league spot and we don’t and never did plan on breaking this team up or keeping them from desired organizations, but proper negotiations between orgs must be made. Again, the players hold the spot and we hold the players through contract.
I really hope this clears all, if not most of this unnecessary situation up for all the parties and community. For the people who have shown respect to myself and AES through this I thank you.
Due to the lack of useful information distributed by the players and the higher level of scrutiny placed on people in management positions within eSports, this statement released by the Apotheon eSports CEO is likely truthful. It does appear that the players were under some sort of contract that they may have wanted to be released from, but it doesn’t seem that TSM was actively trying to purchase the league spot.
This entire ordeal comes down to contacts and the lack of understanding many players have about them. We previously spoke to eSports lawyer Roger Quiles about the necessity of contracts. In regards to the current situation, he had a few things to say about contracts and the way players feel about them:
“Its “dumb” when it’s against you, but when it protects you it’s your best friend. The bigger problem here is the lack of understanding of a given contract’s implications, which is why important contracts (your job, house, etc.) should be reviewed by someone who knows the space.”
All-in-all, it’s a good thing that contracts are being used in competitive Call of Duty. The common practice of common roster changes makes it difficult to follow the eSport, but with a set of rules in place and Activision running the show, it’s time for Call of Duty players to earn the title of “professional”.
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