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When it comes to professionalism in the eSports scene, there are cases where things go exceedingly well. And yet, there are incidents which question the integrity of the scene. After sitting quietly, former Team Secret member Jacky ‘EternalEnvy’ Mao spoke out against the real ‘truth’ about the All-Star team and its managers. In a lengthy blog post, which had crashed and was archived, EternalEnvy spoke out about how Team Secret lacks communication and about team captain Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov and owner Kemal Sadikoglu.
At the current time, only one side of the story has been presented, with no word from the opposing party in the dispute yet. The blog post contains numerous copied messages between Jacky, Clement and Kemal. We highly recommend you read through that and look through the posted conversation log with an open mind, to have a much firmer grip of situation.
Winnings payout issues and non-transparency
Mao started off the post to talk about what the values were when it came to Team Secret. As a team that placed transparency above all else. This hope and dream for the team was shut down almost instantly with the following paragraphs detailing the background business practices presented by Kemal. The first major stopping point was the massive delay in Tournament winnings payouts. Making a reference to an incident with Team Secret’s original manager, Evany Chang, Mao had presented previous history of bad monetary management in the organization after Evany had left.
The general gist of this segment was Jacky’s confirmation that the same issue that Evany struggled through had also applied to himself and his team. ” It just sits there,” Mao had stated, “and unless you hound them for it the money won’t move for awhile.” He also noted that fellow former Team Secret player Rasmus ‘Misery’ Filipsen, who had left the team in March of 2016, didn’t receive his winnings of $182,000+ until September 26th. Since Jacky’s post was released, Rasmus had also spoken out to further confirm the issues that plagued the organization in his own blog post.
The most pressing matter came from a 10% cut of the winnings which were inexplicably taken for no apparent reason according to Jacky. When asking for some sort of invoice to show where the random drips of money keep coming from, it was discovered that 10% of all winnings were taken by the organization. Mao then approached Johan ‘pieliedie’ Aström, a current member of Team Secret, to ask if he knew about the cut. He did not.
12:09 AM – Rem: did u get paid ur prize winnings
12:09 AM – Rem: did u know theres a 10% prize winnings cut
12:09 AM – Rem: secret takes
12:10 AM – LITTLE HUMBLE RABBIT: u sure
12:10 AM – LITTLE HUMBLE RABBIT: that doesnt sound right
12:10 AM – Rem: im 100% sure
12:10 AM – LITTLE HUMBLE RABBIT: jesus
After confronting Ivanov about the 10% cut, it turned out that this was established from the start. At this point, both players developed some friction, with Mao accusing Ivanov of going back on his word on establishing no cuts to tournament winnings. Ivanov could only state that 10% was the lowest cut he could get for the team, and that ‘it never mattered in the end scale’.
No formal organizational sponsors
The next section detailed the problems with the organization’s ability to have a proper sponsorship. According to Mao, the team did not receive any salary until he managed to secure a sponsorship with PandaTV in China. This deal was secured solely by Mao who organized a business dinner with executives from the company and had expressed interest in having him stream for them. Allegedly, Mao had refused to work with company unless his whole team can benefit from the deal. Once accepted, the contract stated that that every month, Mao would stream for 60 hours while Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev and Clement would stream for at the least 30 hours. The deal would net the team over 1 million USD, however, due to Clement and Artour’s failure to uphold the contract for the first quarter, the team were only paid a quarter of the contracted amount.
Prior to this deal, Team Secret failed to pick up any formal sponsors which would help compensate players and provide salaries. It was revealed that 100TB, Nvidia and EGB were the big names in current cycle of sponsorship deals. It turns outs, 100TB and Nvidia were not sponsoring the team through monetary means, but through providing their products, including Nvidia GTX 980 for each player. When pressing Kemal, it was noted that EGB had not paid the company but were still sponsoring the team. In regards to the graphics cards, they were never delivered, with promises that the team would instead receive the new GTX 1080. After they were still not delivered, Kemal cited that Nvidia had ran out of stock to give to partners.
Following his departure from Team Secret, Mao had created a new team called ‘Team NP’. Upon hearing that Mao was creating a new team, Kemal tried to pick up the team as the North American branch to the organization, trying to entice the team with newer sponsorships. It was mentioned that Kemal was in talks with Dominoes, Coca Cola, PandaTV, HuomaoTV, Monster, Redbull, Nike, Nvidia, ASUS, Benq and Gatorade. Mao went straight to PandaTV and inquired as to whether or not there was any planned deals between the companies, and was was informed it was decisively dismissed. Furthermore, seeking advice from other organization managers, Mao was informed that massive companies such as Coca Cola currently have no interest in the eSports scene.
Conflict with Puppey
It was stated right out of the gate that both Jacky and Clement were very close friends and teammates during the majority of the year. However, after the high point at the Shanghai Major, cracks began to form between the two as mistakes and results began to sink morale. During the Shanghai Major, Clement would not play public games in order to get some practice in. This was counteracted by the fact that moral stayed high because Clement would still turn up to the practice rooms with the rest of the team. This changed during the Manila Major.
Allegedly, Clement became complacent during skirmishes and practice by becoming late or drinking irresponsibly the night before and not turning up to practice at all. This was one of the final straws for Universe, who had left for Evil Geniuses once again. During this time, Clement became much more toxic towards his teammates, but managed to retain some clarity and recognize his folly. Clement had promised a change in his attitude, and this caused Mao to keep believing in Clement.
Unfortunately, Clement began to slip into a more aggressive approach to managing his team. Allegedly, there have been incidents where Clement would completely verbally assault his teammates. Admittedly, Mao had noted that this abuse in such stressful environment, it’s not unprecedented. What’s haunting is the sentence Mao had written: “I kinda just believed in Puppey no matter what so it didn’t really affect me. The first time he did it to W33ha I got scared of what’s to come. But when he did it to me and RTZ, I kinda just accepted it and thought: well if he’s this angry I probably fucked up.”
Slowly the team began to lose momentum after not practicing together as a team again until The International 6 bootcamp. After a lengthy gap, the stress between team members began to show as Clement was blaming Jacky after the team was knocked out of TI6. Trying to find solace, Clement came back to Jacky to instead blame Artour. This moment cemented the break in their camaraderie for Jacky.
Days after the blog’s release, Jacky had been streaming and talked a bit more briefly about his thoughts on the situation. A brief outline of what was mentioned was transcribed by Reddit user limaj_daas. One of the biggest points he made that should be considered is that, it’s easy to blame Puppey, especially with how slanted the blog makes his actions sound, but it is important to look at the actions that Kemal has taken throughout ordeal. This sort of incident can very well damage the integrity of the organization at large if they are true, ‘if’ being the key word. Again, without any response from the accused party, the story can only stay one sided. With that said, the chat logs provided are very damning.