On Friday, Filipino-American Dota 2 pro Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross Jr. accused his team of cutting him due to personal circumstances. According to a tweet made by the player, he was removed from the team due to them believing his mother’s illness, which has since led to her passing away, would unduly affect his performance.
Ninjaboogie was representing Team SMG, a Malaysian team founded by singer Wayne Lin Junjie, better known to his fans as JJ Lin. The team is composed of Malaysian and Filipino players, with Yap Chee "Kenchi" Loong listed as coach and CEO at the time of writing.
According to a tweet posted by ninjaboogie, he was supposed to fly back and join the team when his mother, who was suffering from stage 4 cancer, had a stroke, two days before his flight. This led to him asking if he could move his flight, with bootcamp not due to start until six days after his original travel date but was rejected by Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng, who is, presumably, the de facto leader. Shortly afterward ninjaboogie was informed that the organization was releasing him.
SMG themselves have not commented on the statement yet and his release by the team may not have broken any official rules.
Fans condemn Team SMG
Ninjaboogie also responded to Team SMG’s tweet where they announced the roster change, telling them to state the “real reason” they had removed him. The frustration on the player’s part speaks to a problem behind the scenes and fans on Reddit were quick to condemn the decision when it became public.
The move is even more ironic given Team SMG recently posted a picture from a team bonding session with the caption “smiles all around” on it, which seems not to have been the case behind the scenes.
Ninjaboogie has been around the scene for years, but in the last few he has come into his own, representing the likes of Mineski-X TNC Predator in the South-East Asia region. We have reached out to SMG for comment, and will update this article accordingly should they respond.