The offseason is supposed to be a relatively quiet time for League of Legends esports teams. After players have swapped teams during the exciting roster shuffles the scrims pick up again, in preparation for the new season. However, yesterday turned into a particularly rough Friday the 13th for LEC's Misfits Gaming.
An AMA gone wrong
It started with what was meant to be a bonding experience between new members of Misfits Gaming and the League of Legends subreddit community. Three newly hired members sat down to answer questions in an 'Ask Me Anything' thread on Reddit: Head Coach Alejandro Fernández-Valdés, Strategic Coach Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider, and General Manager Michael Bolze.
Although there were a few lighthearted questions, the thread was dominated by disgruntled LoL fans, trying to hold Misfits' management accountable for roster decisions made across the 2019 season. Several Redditors wanted to know why Misfits kept "ruining or massively hurting your players' careers."
User "No-No-No-No-No" wrote a scorching comment going over Misfits' conduct towards LIDER, Neon, Hi1va, Doss and Kirei, laying out how poor player preparation, untimely roster swaps and sometimes blatantly ignoring a player had hurt those players' career, before concluding with: "I get that you want to do the best for your organization, not for the players. But this incompetent butchering of careers has to stop. Butcher your own results all you want, but show have some respect for the players in your organization. Don't throw players under the bus in a late, desperate attempt to save your skin."
The comments were left hanging without reply, increasing Redditors' skepticism towards the organization. When Misfits did reply to more critical comments, people weren't satisfied either. When asked why someone should be a fan of Misfits Gaming, Michael Bolze's reply including the line "We like to have fun and we're inclusive - so everyone is welcome," was met with many downvotes and comments mocking once more the team's approach to its roster.
The suspension and firing of Neon
The AMA alone would be stressful enough for many organizations, but the day didn't end there for Misfits. A few hours after the AMA had started, Riot Games announced it had punished Misfits bot laner Matúš “Neon” Jakubčík—one of the players Redditors stood up for in the AMA—for unacceptable behavior.
Over the course of several months, Neon had been demonstrating a negative attitude during his games online. After several reports had flagged his account, Neon was warned according to protocol. However, his behavior didn't improve. After displaying more "discriminatory language towards other players in the game" Riot suspended him until February 21st, 2020.
Following the ruling, Misfits decided to kick Neon from the team. In a Tweet, the team states: "We are disappointed by Neon’s actions and his subsequent suspension from the league. As a result, he will no longer be with our team. He is a talented player, but his in-game behavior is unacceptable, and not representative of Misfits Gaming."
Image via Riot Games
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.