Today on Twitter, Dallas Fuel announced that they have released Head Coach Aaron "Aero" Atkins (and key assistant staff positions) and replaced the Head Coach position with Yong-Jin "Yong" Kim, the team's previous assistant coach. While there is a surging number of Dallas Fuel fans who applaud the decision and blame Aero for ostensibly everything wrong with the team, the team still has a ways to go until teams are ready to burn blue again.
However, the decision to remove Aero is was not one made on a whim. Many speculate it is the direct result of the teams bungling of yet another contract with an extremely talented Korean Overwatch player, Gui-Un "Decay" Jang. Just how back in 2018 the team released star player Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun and then Fuel coach Kyle "KyKy" Souder, fans took to Reddit and Twitter to express how unfair it was to squander Decay's talent and potential in the League.
On top of that, Dallas Fuel had released Decay after all trade windows had passed -- the same thing that happened to Rascal. Fans were, rightly, extremely disappointed in the team's seeming inability to create a positive play experience for top Overwatch talent.
One fan wrote bewilderedly in an open letter to the team:
"How does our team ALWAYS burn out key players? How can we not get a good team structure after 3 YEARS? How can we not keep the forward progress going when we get a little bit of it? How can we funnel so much money into our team and yet produce very little to no results to show for it? We can't just keep signing hard carries and letting go of the other ones. WE NEED MORE CHANGE. I love AKM, HarryHook, and UnKoe but at this point, why were we keeping them? It's space on the team we can use for newer talents. And the coaching is something WE ALL KNOW needs to change. Getting rid of Tikatee was not the right decision IMO but I am not the org. I don't see how we get so close to fixing the issue at hand but land so far away. It's not AEROspace engineering. But I still support the org.
According to Dallas Fuel Team owner, Mike Rufail, Decay had apparently "refused to work" practice. Fans of the league and those most critical of Dallas Fuel are quick to dismiss this excuse, as it is the organization's responsibility to manage their players and provide for their well-being.
Most fans seem to be siding with the players.
As this news pours over the community, it highlights once more Overwatch League's problem of burning out talented players to the point of over-stress retirements. A new head coach is one thing, but Dallas Fuel is going to need to completely revisit the way it handles player accommodations, health, and wellness.
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