Smash Melee community bash Sentinels CEO after ‘greedy’ attempt to sign top player

Cody's free agent era continues after a poorly constructed deal-breaker.
Cody Schwab celebrating his big Shine 2023 win.
Screenshot by Dot Esports via Beyond the Summit on YouTube

Super Smash Bros. is not known for being the biggest draw for esports sponsors, leaving many top players without a banner to play under. That doesn’t mean the Melee community was going to sit back and let a team openly lowball one of the best players in the world.

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In October, Sentinels CEO Rob Moore said the team would sign top Melee player Cody Schwab if Zachary “zekken” Patrone and the team’s VALORANT squad won the Sentinels Invitational—which they did. We now know that negotiations between both sides have been happening since that interaction happened, but whatever deal was discussed ended up falling through. 

In a Tweet on Nov. 22, Moore shared an update on the contract talks, likely because it was part of a public “bet” with one of his players. In that post, the CEO noted the team made what they “thought was a marketplace offer but Cody” but were turned down because the player and his personal team thought they could get a better deal elsewhere. 

This likely would have blown over with mild disappointment from Sentinels and Melee fans since Moored ended the post wishing Cody the best. But the use of “marketplace offer” in that statement rubbed people the wrong way—including Cody himself. 

Responding indirectly to Moore’s statement, Cody said he wanted to keep the “situation with Sentinels extremely cordial” and leave it at a deal not getting done because nothing in the discussion made sense for both sides. Instead, he delved into some of the specifics of those negotiations, revealing the deal would have left him as the lowest compensated player among Melee’s top 10, and travel to tournaments wasn’t even guaranteed. 

According to Cody, there was no real movement on behalf of Sentinels when it came to this deal. The only concession the org ended up making was offering travel to “some” events with no specifics outlined. There were also two other stipulations as part of this deal that Cody says would have cost him money and “no other melee player has ever had to concede” in their contracts. So, while Cody doesn’t think the team was trying to make him look “greedy or deluded” for pushing for more, the public statement has changed that. 

“I’m sad that I was forced to say anything, but it does feel forced,” Cody said. “That being said, I will be a free agent for the foreseeable future and into 2024 as the best player in the world. Given that market value is supposedly break even on travel, I regret to inform you that I’ll have to search for an offer above market value.”

This fiasco was surely disheartening for Cody, who departed Panda during its Nintendo backlash last December and signed with CLG in January, only for the org to implode during a sale in April.

Once Cody weighed in with some details, Melee Twitter responded in force, assuring Cody he could do better in the future and subsequently bashing Moore for his unprofessional public handling of the situation. This included Jmook telling the CEO to “admit that you’re cheap” and Zain saying “you watch too much Shark Tank bro.”

Whether this “marketplace offer” was influenced by Sentinels needing a $3 million investment from its owners to stay afloat in October or maybe because it was out of obligation to a bet is up in the air, but Cody is moving past the lowballing—and to Michigan.

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Author
Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.