By Isaac Chandler
October 18, 2019
It’s been a rough Worlds for Griffin’s League of Legends roster. While the team is currently in second place at 2-1 in Group A, the team has come under fire after former players and staff came forward with allegations against team manager Cho Kyu Nam.
The story began shortly before Worlds started this year and was announced by CVmax, who’d led the team from the bottom of the second division in Korea to second place in the LCK playoffs.
CVmax discussed the situation on one of his streams. He revealed a history of conflict between him and management, accusing Cho of badmouthing him behind his back to Team Griffin players, staff, and other teams in the league repeatedly.
Substitute player DangWoo, who played as a top laner for the team for a short time this year, also revealed that Cho and CVmax were continually arguing. Cho berated CV for talking back to him and thinking he knew better since Cho had been involved in coaching and management since the days of the original StarCraft.
Cho also claimed the team would be much more successful without CV. He accused him of holding the team back, a claim Dang refuted, noting that CVmax was 88% of the reason the team had come as far as it had.
The disagreements between the two boiled over at the end of the Summer Split playoffs when Cho informed CVmax he would be let go from the team effective immediately, before being asked to come back for Worlds and then fired again shortly afterward.
Several of the current players have denied all CVmax and Dang’s allegations in interviews. All had statements that were similar in their wording. It leads to the suspicion that Cho had forced the players to give those comments.
The allegations against the team didn’t end with the arguments between Cho and CV. Dang also claimed the sub players were forced to eat the leftovers of whatever the main roster was cooked, often not having enough food as the cooks would not make enough for all the Team Griffin players.
He also claimed the reason he stopped starting as their top laner, even though the team was doing so well, was that Sword, who Dang replaced on the roster, had gone to management and complained about not being allowed to start, leading to Cho to force CVmax to start Sword.
Cho also forced the team’s substitute jungler, Kanavi, to take a transfer over to JD Gaming without CV’s approval due to accusations of tampering.
According to CV, Kanavi had been offered a $170,000 salary by the Chinese org and $850,000 for his buyout and transfer fees, which the player informed him off upon his return from vacation.
CV told Kanavi to reply to the request as it would be against league rules and considered tampering since the teams were not directly involved in negotiations, and the matter should’ve ended there.
However, Cho found out about the situation and allegedly forced Kanavi to take the transfer as a five-year contract for the lowest possible salary after accusing him of tampering with the squad. This lead Cho to get a larger transfer fee at the player’s expense, something neither the coach or Kanavi saw a cent of.
The initial accusations against Cho for his constant bickering with CVmax are bad enough, but if the allegations by Dang and CV prove true it will be damning for the org.
Treating your players like dogs giving them table scraps and forcing them to take low-end contracts are things we shouldn’t see in esports in 2019, especially from a prestigious region like Korea.
CV has supposedly already gotten offers from Hanwha Life. So, there isn’t too much worry for him, but the Team Griffin players being in such a wretched situation is horrifying.
If any of this gets confirmed in the investigation by lead team sponsor Still8, it could well be the end of Cho’s career in esports, and the beginning of legal proceedings against him by the org.
The investigation is currently ongoing between Still8, Riot Korea and KeSPA, so we’ll likely hear more in the coming weeks. Though the statement on their website the players wouldn’t be involved in it until their run at Worlds is over, so it may be a while.
As always, we’ll keep you updated as the situation develops.