The Turkish League of Legends esports scene has been shaken up by a serious claim of homophobia. Veteran support player Mustafa Kemal "Dumbledoge" Gökseloğlu posted a lengthy statement on why he suddenly decided to leave his team, Papara SuperMassive, in the middle of the currently ongoing Turkish Championship League Winter Split.
In the statement, Dumbledoge, who has been openly gay since April 2018, reveals that he has been confronted with homophobic comments and other bullying dating back as early as 2017. Though multiple Turkish players were involved, Dumbledoge points out that it was his former teammate Berkay "Zeitnot" Aşıkuzun, currently Bot Laner for SuperMassive, who caused most of the confrontation and hurt him the most. The two appeared to get along fine on a surface level, but Dumbledoge stated that Zeitnot was eventually the reason why he decided to leave his team.
Below is the statement made by Dumbledoge, as translated by a Turkish-speaking Redditor and verified by a source that wishes to remain anonymous. It has been minimally tweaked for grammar and clarity purposes, and is intercepted at some points to provide further context to the situation. Dumbledoge has broken up his statement in two pieces: one that talks about events in 2017 (he initially played for SuperMassive from January 2016 until May 2017), and another part that picks up in 2019.
“Hi. After the latest events, I felt that I needed to explain what happened myself. I will explain why I left SuperMassive and what occurred all the way back in 2017, so this will be a long one.
“First of all, I need to explain that the reason I left had nothing to do with the organization. SuperMassive went to great lengths and did their best to make sure I and the team were happy and content. I would like to thank every single person who was a part of the organization. The reason why I left is Zeitnot, and not the other 3 players on the team. I will chronologically touch on a few events that occurred in the past, and I will explain all I have been keeping inside my head, as I do not believe I will be able to continue to play professionally.
“2017: As all of you know, I left SuperMassive shortly after MSI. Not because I thought I was playing excellently, not because I felt other players or the team were bad, but because of pride. When asked, I would say “I was not happy,” and move on. However, the real reason I didn’t want to stay had to do with receiving screenshots of some players in the professional scene making homophobic remarks about me, and during that time I hadn’t revealed to the public that I was gay.
“I received these screenshots 3 or 4 days before we got eliminated in MSI. In this group were people who I later blocked from social media to help me forget these events. I had to forget about this, as I believed exposing these people would have hurt me as much as it would have hurt them, as such I didn’t talk about this. I had no answer to the question “If you aren’t gay, then why do you give a shit?”
“I hid my homosexuality from literally everyone, including my family. As I have said, I blocked some people, but what really got to me was the fact that Zeitnot was in this group. Someone who I lived together for 5 months, someone I saw as my close friend and brother, someone I respected without end, was in fact laughing at me and ridiculing me behind my back all the while smiling at me on the outside. And there is no answer that will make you feel better and make them feel worse when they are making fun of your race or your sexual orientation. I couldn’t keep doing it and still feel good about myself. When I saw these screenshots, I went from shock to anger, and from anger to planning about doing something that would make them feel as bad as they made me feel, something that would hurt them the way they hurt me.
“Firstly, as soon as our MSI adventure ended, I made my desire to leave the team obvious, saying that I would be looking for new opportunities abroad and that I no longer had any desire to continue playing in Turkey. While I was at the analysis table in Brazil, I asked a Rioter who was familiar with Academy league if they needed any support or not and dropped the topic after the response was negative. At the end of the week, as we were returning to Turkey, I told the head referee that handled player bans in TCL about the screenshots, saying that I felt unsafe knowing that I was living in the same house with people who absolutely loathed me and despised me due to my sexual orientation, and asked if they could do anything to punish them. The referee told me these were private conversations, and that he could not do anything about it.
“The contract I signed while I was leaving SuperMassive forbid me from playing in any other team in TCL, which was mostly natural and I do not blame the organization for it. I figure they thought I had gotten a deal from another team, especially after on the outside it seemed I and the team was doing just fine, so this was reasonable. Additionally, when I was leaving, I told the team I was looking to play outside of Turkey. After all, this is a business, and I did not want to make it harder for the organization. I had no intention of playing at first for the split, but after my father, who realized I was in something of a void, suggested me to play in the lower league, I ended up agreeing, and for this, I once again apologize to Supermassive. Since it did not say “Academy League” on the contract, I assumed it did not pertain to that League, so it might have seem as thought I tricked them.”
At this point in the statement, Dumbledoge shares the screenshots he has received from sources he wishes to protect and therefore keeps anonymous. The screenshots are proof of the chat groups’ targeted homophobia and bullying—the images are spread out throughout this article.
The Turkish word "top" literally translates to "ball" but is often used as a homophobic slur, the English equivalent of which would be the f-word.
Dumbledoge moves on to discuss his experiences from 2019 onwards. After leaving SuperMassive in May 2017 and finding no place in Brazil, he played for Beşiktaş Esports until November 2017, for Royal Bandits from December 2017 until November 2018, for Royal Youth until April 2019, and then for Galatasaray Esports until January 2020. At this point, Dumbledoge returned to SuperMassive, where Zeitnot was still on the active roster.
“2019: Here I’ll answer the question “Why did you come back to Supermassive after all this?” First of all, I need to talk about why I left Royal Youth, as it’s connected to this and I do not want to hide anything. On the 9th of April, 2019, management at Royal talked about how they no longer had the power to keep Pilot and GBM around, and that they would be shrinking the team. They said that those who wished to leave the team could do so, and I directly told them I intended to leave because last year, the same thing happened with Cepted and Malrang.
“I’d say that that period of my career was the most stressful ever. I never felt this depressed. Knowing that I had no idea who would be the new players, and because of the shrinking I had no chance at being successful—it made me feel quite pessimistic. Every single day we were talking about who we could hire. In the end, Freeze and Abbe came on board and it did not go as bad as I thought it would, and we even achieved some success. It was the team I had the most fun on, but before that, I was extremely stressed out. I did not want the same things as before to happen and asked for global contract database to be deleted, together with GBM and Pilot. This happened on the 9th of January.
“One week later, they started talking about team reuniting and continuing on with a midlaner other than GBM, but I was skeptical. The same thing had happened last year with Cepted and Malrang, and the same talks about them coming back were in the air. GBM and Pilot became free agents together with me and our contracts were deleted from the database. However, on the 20th of April, I’m not quite sure of the exact date, they told me Pilot was still on the team. I asked “His contract has been terminated, how can he still be on the team.”, and they responded with “Yeah, we handled it.”
“When I talked to Pilot after all of this, he told me he was never told he was a free agent, and that he thought he was still a part of the team. I told him that he was a free agent and could join another team, and that he should talk with Riot, and told a player-manager in Riot to talk with Pilot and that something strange was going on. Because Pilot was a pure-hearted person, I did not wish for him to be taken advantage of. However, despite all that, Pilot ended up re-signing with Royal, and the management somehow learned that I talked to Riot about the events. The management came up to me and told me that the players no longer wanted me and that they wanted to hire a support player who would essentially be a slave who would only play Braum. I talked with the players and the coach, but despite all that, they all told me management did not want me and that they had to look for a new support player. To this day, I don’t know what’s true, and that’s how I ended up leaving Royal.
“I thought that the only team that could rival SuperMassive and win any sort of final was Royal Youth. I only had two choices here: to return to SuperMassive and play in the same team with that person, or to retire. Here, my competitive personality proved greater, and I decided I wanted more success. I would play for a year more and decide after that. I kept telling myself that if I managed to do this, I would improve greatly as a person, and that I would always find obstacles before me in professional life, and that if I were to do this, I would be a better person. However this did not end up being the case.
“At the end of December, I moved to the gaming house. Everything was normal. We were not friends with Zeitnot outside of a professional friendship. I tried to be as professional as I could. Let’s move a bit further, after the match against Fenerbahçe, I came across Zeitnot and Pades, and the former said: “Kemal does not give a shit.” I walked to their side and asked: “I heard you, what exactly are you talking about?”
During the match, Dumbledoge explains, there were three champions he could pick: Braum, Leona, and Tahm Kench.” Dumbledoge expressed indifference towards the champion the coach would choose, as it would be a “pick your poison” case for him. He says he apologized for the trouble his stance had caused. During the next match, Dumbledoge explained his preferred pick out loud, but that wasn’t appreciated either. After saying he could win all trades with Xayah and Rakan, he got a crude reply.
“The reply I got was: “That’s why I fucked you in the ass in Playoffs.” I went to the match with those words in my mind. The same person who raged at me for saying “I’m fine with anything,” someone who thought what I was saying was wrong, someone who thought he was always right and someone who felt he never made mistakes was now my teammate.
“We won the game, and when I went to the kitchen, I heard Zeitnot and Pades talking on the balcony. “He [Furkan] is dogshit, and especially the other bastard is terrible. He couldn’t win a single Playoff against me. When I say something, no one will do anything about it.” It was obvious he was talking about me. This was the second time I heard him talking ill behind my back. I knew he had no courage to face me in person from what happened in 2017, so I decided to confront him. I walked before him and said, “You can speak to my face, no need to talk behind my back.”
“I talked about the matchups I mentioned before, and during that conversation he said extremely hurtful and offensive insults to me. Things no reasonable person would say. He said that I was playing terribly, that he endured my ego in 2017 and that he would no longer be willing to endure it any longer. I asked what he meant, as I legitimately had no idea what he was talking about. He took a step towards me and Pades got in between us and stopped him.”
In the following paragraph, Dumbledoge makes a statement on Zeitnot's mental health, and he makes a reference to Zeitnot's alleged marijuana use. Inven Global could not confirm whether or not the allegations made by Dumbledoge are true.
“Because of his psychological problems, and because his brain had melted due to his addiction, I realized this was not someone I could talk like a human being. At that moment, I said “I’m leaving.”, took my belongings and took the first plane to İzmir. If I cared about the person before me to any extent, I might have said something back with anger, but words really cannot hurt you. Only how those words are heard and how they are interpreted can hurt you. If the person before you is worthless, you can only listen.
“In this case, my decision to leave was wrong. Leaving just 2 days before our team had a match was an awful thing to do. I was once more going to leave mid-split, and I seriously wanted to help SuperMassive succeed and redeem myself. I was going to leave 3 other players, who I was fond of, high and dry. Outside of these responsibilities, I was going to drop my responsibilities towards myself by not acting professionally and leaving my workspace. But at that point, none of that mattered to me. I already knew this was not the first time people were talking behind my back, who knows how many times they had talked. This person could say these things because the entire team was on the same page with him, or so I thought at the time.
“I left because I believed I was unwanted, but I acted with haste and I regret it. I don’t know how things would have gone, perhaps I would have left after the games during the weekend anyway.”
The images in this article have been evaluated and translated by a third-party source.