The fifth trial on the case of Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho’s assault charges was held on Dec. 17. In this trial, C, who played under cvMax’s coaching in Griffin and followed him to DRX attended as a witness. C had filed a petition for cvMax to the department of justice and in this trial, he was asked additional questions by the attorney and prosecutor.
The department of justice asked about what cvMax mentioned in his stream -- cvMax had said that he remembers holding him by the shoulder and slamming a desk. When asked about this, cvMax said, “I’ve been doing the same feedback over three years and I’m not sure what I mentioned was about the incident on Feb. 9, 2019”.
The following is the interrogation with witness C.
The following questions are asked by cvMax’s attorney.
Attorney: When you first joined Griffin, your monthly wages were from 500K to 2M KR W ($450-1800), is that correct?
[Showing the petition that C filed] It is mentioned in the petition that you were offered a large amount of salary from other teams after your contract was terminated with Griffin. How much was it?
I’m reluctant to say the exact amount.
Is it more than 300M KRW ($270K)?
I thought it was a large amount of money in my standard.
Did Griffin get promoted to the LCK and bring good results right after cvMax started coaching the team?
Did you mention in the petition that if it weren’t for cvMax’s strategy and feedback, the results Griffin had would have been impossible?
You were teammates with Sword in Griffin. Are you close personally?
When we were together on the team, we were really close, but nowadays, we don’t even contact each other.
Sword sued cvMax that he assaulted during the feedback on Feb. 9, 2019. Do you know this?
I know that this trial is about the incident on Feb. 9.
On that day during the scrim with Gen.G, did Griffin lose because of Sword’s poor performance, dying more than 10 times?
I’m not sure if it was a scrim with Gen.G, but I think he had a lot of deaths that day.
Did Sword die often and underperform?
That’s probably why there was feedback.
Do you remember him underperforming?
Anyone can underperform during practice. I think he got feedback because he did.
LoL is a 5v5 team game. If Sword underperforms in the top lane, is it likely to lose in the LCK and World Championship?
Did Griffin have world-top-class players like yourself so that they finished 2nd in the LCK and reach the World Championship?
[Showing Sword’s interview in March 2019] At this time, Sword said, “We’ll win if I just play well. The problem in my lane affected the whole game.” Like this interview, it seems that Sword thought his performance wasn’t good enough compared to the other players. Was Sword’s performance bad compared to other players?
I’m not sure.
Sword’s solo queue LP was around 600. Was it comparably lower compared to other Griffin players or general pro players?
I don’t think 600 is that low.
How high is the LP for general pro gamers?
I’m not sure.
In the World Championship in 2019, Griffin was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Was it due to Sword’s underperforming?
I don’t think we lost because of one person. Since we were a team, we lost because we lacked as a team.
Is it true that the teammates wanted Sword to perform better?
We did want him to play better.
In a game that requires five people to make team plays and share the outcome, is the head coach position an important role to maintain the players’ performances and mentalities?
After the scrim on Feb. 9, 2019, did you see cvMax strike Sword’s chair during feedback?
Did you hear a noise as if something was hit?
I’m not sure if it was that kind of sound. I was doing something else. I heard a loud noise where they were having feedback, so I looked back.
How loud was the noise?
I’m not sure how to express it.
Was it loud enough so that you looked back?
After the situation, did you see cvMax push Sword up to the sink holding Sword between the neck and shoulder with both hands?
I don’t remember.
Did you see cvMax holding Sword by the shoulder and shake him?
I didn’t see such a thing.
Do you know coach Byun?
Byun said that he was talking to the players to order food. Do you remember it the same way?
I’m not really sure since I don’t remember that exactly.
He said that he was ordering food with other players when there was feedback towards a player. If this is the case, it doesn’t seem that the atmosphere was that violent that cvMax’s feedback to be considered as assault. What do you think?
The feedback atmosphere is different all the time, so I don’t think I can answer definitely.
B said that other players return to their seats and do their own stuff, wearing their headsets when cvMax gives feedback to one player. Was it in that situation in your memory?
I don’t know if it was on Feb. 9, but I think I returned to my seat and did my things, wearing my headset.
What do the other players usually do?
In my memory, I think they did their own stuff without watching the 1 on 1 feedback.
They wear their headsets and look at their own computers?
That’s what usually happened when cvMax gave feedback.
Was Sword the oldest player on the team?
Given he’s the oldest, would it be awkward from Sword’s viewpoint if he was criticized by the head coach in front of all of the other younger players?
Feedback is to point out and fix what lacks in a player. I don’t think it would be that pleasant to watch that process.
In November 2019, Sword told B that he would record their phone call to sue cvMax, and submitted that record as evidence. Did Sword attempt to record a conversation with you?
He never said anything about recording a conversation.
He has never told you that he’ll be recording your conversation?
This is the first time I’m hearing recording and submitting it as evidence.
Do you know why Sword requested recording a conversation with other players, but not to you?
I’m not sure.
When cvMax gives feedback, do you think it’s to give pain, or is it to enhance players’ performances and mentalities?
I think it’s to guide us. The feedback could be painful, but he said in advance that it’s to get good results and to improve. I think the feedback was to guide the players.
Are you saying that the accused said in advance that the feedback could be harsh?
Did cvMax separate the role clearly between being a strict head coach and regular life?
I’m not sure.
How was cvMax to you?
I can’t really say that we had a clearly friendly and horizontal relationship. I just thought that he didn’t act like he was above me unless we were working.
Did Sword, as well as you, usually call cvMax “hyeong” and have regular conversations without holding anything back?
I think he did.
After what happened on Feb. 9, 2019, did cvMax and Sword both exchange jokes and got along well?
They looked close in my eyes.
It seems that the reason Sword was having a hard time was that he was criticized by the fans after his interview during the World Championship in October 2019. What do you think?
I think he struggled after getting attacked by the fans a lot after the interview.
After the feedback on Feb. 9, 2019, did Sword ever say to other players, “cvMax has to apologize”?
I don’t remember hearing anything like that.
Griffin fired cvMax due to lack of results with only one month to the World Championship. Did the players, yourself included, think that cvMax left on his own will?
I don’t know. I don’t remember.
Were there players that were disappointed that cvMax left irresponsibly because he left due to a bit of discord?
I think there was.
When Griffin was preparing for its debut at the World Championship, did director Cho Gyu-nam tell the players that cvMax is revealing Griffin’s strategies on his stream and told the players to mention that negatively in an interview?
Cho did tell the players that. He requested us to say cvMax should refrain from talking about the team.
After the fans found out that cvMax was fired unilaterally, they criticized Sword severely. How did Sword react?
I don’t remember clearly, but he struggled a lot at that time.
Did Cho and Kim Dong-woo visit the players to say, “what cvMax is revealing about Kanavi isn’t true” or that “cvMax is a paranoiac and adds things to facts”?
Did Cho and Kim ask you if you were treated wrongly by cvMax?
The reason Cho and Kim asked if cvMax treated you wrongly was to cover what actually happened with Kanavi. What do you think?
I don’t know their exact intentions.
[Showing text messages between cvMax and C’s mother] In the text messages, she says, “I think this was my kid. They asked him to take this and use it against you”. Did they do that?
I don’t really remember what situation this was, but they did say want to use my comments against cvMax, and I said no. During Worlds, I was in the hotel. Kim came to me and asked me if I was treated wrongly. I said there’s ‘this’ that happened and he asked if he could use it. I said no.
So Kim asked for permission to use that?
Yes. But I said no.
It seems that Cho and Kim were looking for something to sue cvMax as a criminal to stop him from revealing what happened with Kanavi. What do you think?
I don’t know their intentions.
Why did you refuse?
I didn’t want to mention something that happened to me during feedback a long time ago.
Was it because cvMax’s feedback was within a normal range and you thought that it helped improving yourself?
I don’t know if it’s in a normal range. As a result, it was helpful to me, and I didn’t want to make it a problem after so much time.
Whatever the problem was, you didn’t want to report him nor wanted him to be submitted for punishment?
It was a personal thing from the past. I didn’t want it to be used anywhere.
According to your mother’s messenger, Cho and Kim tried to convince her. Did you know of this?
This is the first time I’ve seen it.
Did the LCK operating committee come to the Griffin team house to ask and write up anything in case you were assaulted by cvMax?
I don’t remember if they asked us to write anything. There was a person that came and talked to each player individually.
Did you also talk with that person or write a statement?
I don’t know if it was from the LCK operating committee, but they just came to the team house, talked to the players one on one. It was like an investigation. I didn’t write any statements.
When Cho stepped back from being director, did Kim gather the players?
Did Kim say, “Cho was fired and this could be the last time you see him. You’re onlookers. You’re irresponsible when Sword is being attacked”?
After that, were there some players that called other players cowards for not responding?
I don’t remember.
Some players and a coach had an interview and this was published. Do you know this?
I don’t know the process. I just saw the interview.
Was there a reason that you didn’t take part in that interview?
I didn’t know that there was such an interview.
You didn’t know that they were having that interview? Nor any plans?
I didn’t know.
Were you left out completely?
I don’t think I did anything at that time.
[Showing the text messages of B’s mother] It says that B wouldn’t have been able to grow this much without cvMax’s feedback. Did you know this?
This is the first time I’ve seen this.
According to this message, B’s mother thought cvMax’s feedback was necessary and appropriate, and she’s rather grateful because it helped the player grow.
I also think I wouldn’t have been able to grow this much without his feedback.
Like other sports, sometimes it’s necessary to give strong feedback when players have issues with lack of practice, lack of performance, or have mentality issues. What do you think?
It’s difficult to say if strong feedback is necessary. I think it’s worth giving cautions or warnings.
So a measure to guide the player is necessary?
You were offered a great amount of money from other teams in 2020, but you followed cvMax to DRX.
How different was the salary between the offers from other teams and from DRX?
It wasn’t that big.
Why did you follow cvMax?
We promised to win Worlds together, but we didn’t. Also, other teams’ rosters were being formed but DRX wasn’t. I wanted to challenge Worlds with cvMax.
Did cvMax say that he’s sorry that the salary was lower than other teams’ offers and tell you that he’ll help you more through feedback?
In the petition, you said that if you considered cvMax to be violent, you wouldn’t have signed with his team. Do you still think that?
The following questions were asked by the prosecutor.
Prosecutor: You said that you looked back because of the noise during feedback on Feb 9. Do you remember what kind of sound it was? Was it shouting or hitting a desk?
I think it was like, *slam*.
Was it hitting something with a hand?
I don’t remember what it was, but it was a slam.
So you’re saying it was loud?
Do you remember what cvMax said to Sword?
I don’t remember.
Does that kind of noise happen often during feedback?
It wasn’t that often.
So it happened sometimes?
Sometimes there was feedback with that sound.
What kind of feedback is it when you hear that sound?
I think it was when the player receiving feedback played badly but that player didn’t know how badly he played.
What do you think causes that sound? How does the feedback work?
I’m not sure.
Have you ever had that feedback? Striking something, throwing. A slamming sound could occur by hitting something.
I did see him talk while striking B’s desk.
Did you see cvMax give feedback to Sword?
How many times?
It’s hard to count. We get feedback in all games. It’s impossible to determine how many times.
Did cvMax shake Sword by the shoulder during feedback?
I haven’t seen it.
Did cvMax do to Sword as he did to B?
I don’t remember seeing it.
Besides Feb. 9, were there days that had the same sound?
All I remember of hearing a slamming noise was this day and on the day that he slammed B’s desk. Besides that, I don’t remember.
What do you remember about the incident on Feb. 9?
I remember only that. Sword was on the chair, and cvMax was standing, holding the armrest of the chair. I don’t remember besides that.
Was Sword in front of his desk straight or was he turned 90 degrees?
He wasn’t at his desk straight.
So was he turned 90 degrees?
Sword was turned 90 degrees, and cvMax was holding his chair, correct?
I don’t know what they talked about but it looked like that.
You said that cvMax told you in advance that he’d give strong feedback. In your opinion, what is strong feedback? For example, was it natural to swear or encouragingly tap someone’s shoulder?
He didn’t tap someone’s shoulder. He did say that strong feedback was to stimulate the receiver so that it would be effective and stick in their memory.
Did he ever strike your chair or desk?
I don’t remember him doing so. Either he never did, or I don’t remember.
Kim asked you if you were treated wrongly, and you mentioned a few things. What kind of things did you mention?
In game 2 of the summer finals in 2018 against KT, I underperformed. CvMax held my thigh with force. I thought of that.
Did he pinch your thigh?
Rather than pinching, he just grabbed it tightly.
As a result, you brought it up when Kim talked with you. Was that because it’s a behavior you didn’t allow?
Kim asked if there was a case where I was treated wrongly. If I was to mention something, that would be it. I didn’t want it to be used.
Did you think it was alright to grasp your thigh tightly?
I wasn’t that content when he did, but I didn’t think it was a problem.
Then at the time, did you think it wasn’t appropriate when he did but thought it wasn’t a problem afterward since it helped you improve?
The following questions were asked by the judge.
The incident was on Feb 9, 2019. You said you looked back because there was a loud noise.
When you looked back, what were they talking about?
I don’t remember.
When you heard the loud noise, what objects were around the chair?
The sink was behind the chair.
How far was it from the chair to the sink?
It was quite close.
Were there any other objects besides the sink?
No. Compared to the sink, other objects were further away.
Was the slamming sound the sound of hitting the chair?
I’m not sure about that.
Did you also hear the wheels on the chair roll?
I don’t know.
Around Feb. 9, or right after, are you aware of any cuts or scratches around Sword’s neck?
Cuts or scratches around his neck? I don’t think there were any.
Are you sure that there weren’t any or do you not remember?
As far as I remember, there weren’t any cuts or scratches around his neck.
From Feb. 9, 2019, to around November 2019, did Sword ever tell you directly that he was assaulted by cvMax?
Sword never told me directly.
After Feb. 9, 2019, did Sword behave like usual?
I don’t remember.
When there were only players, did Sword ever talk about cvMax?
I don’t think he did.
Were there any times that players complained about cvMax’s feedback?
I don’t remember.
Is it that you don’t remember or did it not happen?
I don’t remember whether it happened or not.
Did you ever complain about cvMax’s feedback to other people?
In the beginning, I think I complained a few times to people around me.
Why did you complain?
It was the first time I lost confidence because of getting feedback that I’m not that good at playing the game. It was hard to accept.
You said cvMax held your thigh tightly. Besides that, did he ever do something similar?
Did Sword say that there are problems in cvMax’s feedback or complain to others?
I’m not sure.
Does that mean that you don’t remember?
I really just don’t know about it.
Were there mutual agreements between cvMax and players in actions such as inflicting physical force?
I don’t know if they agreed or cvMax asked each player to agree. The only physical infliction he had on me was holding my thigh tightly.
Does cvMax pull the chair when he gives feedback to players?
Yes. He told me to come close and pulled my chair close to the monitor.
Did that happen to you?
It happened to me, and I saw him do that to other players as well.
Is it just pulling the chair lightly? How hard is it?
A person would be sitting on the chair, so he would use some strength.
Have you seen cvMax hold a player by the shoulder and shake him?
I haven’t seen him shake a player by the shoulder.
When the incident happened, how was cvMax’s voice? Was his voice different from the usual when he talked to Sword? Was it higher or lower?
I think he talked strongly.
Was he angry?
I’m not sure because he said that he’ll ‘act’ angry, so I don’t know if he was really angry or was acting angry.
So you’re not sure if it was acting, but he seemed angry?
After the interrogations by the attorney, prosecutor, and judge of witness C, the parties asked cvMax about his streams submitted as evidence. On his stream, cvMax had said:
“I remember striking Sword’s desk. I remember throwing the pick & ban note, and shaking him by the shoulder, telling him to get to his senses. But strangling him? I’m trying my best to remember. I never hit them. I did hit a desk or chair, but I think strangling someone is way too excessive.”
About the stream, cvMax’s attorney said:
“CvMax was quite worked up when he was streaming, and what he’s saying is that ‘since he’s had experiences like that before, it could be what happened in that situation”.
CvMax also explained himself. “The purpose and goal of the feedback, and what I did, I explain later in the stream. I felt responsible for what I say and thought I shouldn’t lie.”
When the judge asked, “Do you remember that you said that you struck the chair?”, cvMax answered that he was with the players for three years and there are six feedback sessions per day. “I give feedback 300 times a month. I do remember slamming a desk to catch the players’ attention. I don’t remember which days they were, but I did do that to bring their attention and to bring the players to their senses”.
The judge asked again, “You said that you held Sword and shook him”, to which cvMax answered, “I don’t remember the details, but seeing myself mention it in a stream, I think I remember it. I don’t remember the details when or where it happened”. About this, the judge asked again if it happened on Feb. 9, but cvMax said that he wasn’t sure if it was on that date.
The next trial is set for late January. There will be no additional witnesses and cvMax will be interrogated as the accused. If there aren’t any special circumstances, the trial in January will be the final trial.