TSM President Aileena "Leena" Xu has responded formally to the controversy in a TwitLonger post:
"I’d like to make an apology to our community and to Dardoch over my lapse of judgement on handling an important call next to a live stream. No one wants their private information leaked and it's not fair to Dardoch that this happened. At the end of the day, no one feels worse about this situation than I do, and it's already difficult enough to be a TSM fan in these trying times.
On the back end, since the end of our Spring Split playoffs run, we’ve been working with Dardoch on the possibility of him splitting time/moving to academy however he expressed interest in joining another team for a full time starting spot. Over the last month, we put our best efforts forward to finding him a new team and he has been aware of all of the conversations that happened along the way with the other teams.
It has never been my intention to nor have I ever tried to drag a player publicly. TSM and I have always tried our best to help place our players in positions of success even after their tenure with us even while taking on monetary losses.
And at the end of the day, this mistake is 100% my fault and I wish the best for Josh despite everything that happened today."
The League of Legends offseason often comes with it's fair share of drama, mostly centered around transfers, and that's certainly no different in the times of COVID-19. Undoubtedly the biggest story of the window has been that of Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng departing Team Liquid for former org TSM, with whom he won two LCS titles.
However, the move itself wasn't the most shocking part — that came courtesy of the player's relationship with TSM President Aileen "Leena" Xu, and the myriad of conflict of interest claims brought up by the community. At the time, Riot Games approved the move. Now, the clamour is sure to be deafening.
In a stream Doublelift hosted earlier, Leena can clearly be heard talking on the phone in the background. What she says is damning for the organization — and puts the future of a player in doubt.
In the clip, she says "it's not up to me, for example — no one wants to pick up Dardoch, that's not my fault."
This sounds like TSM are looking to remove Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett from the active roster, perhaps to bring in a replacement. While roster moves are common in offseason, the question raised is whether Doublelift should even be privy to these kinds of discussions in the first place — which goes back to the whole conflict of interest argument raised by several prominent members of the community.
In a thread on the TSM subreddit, Leena claimed that it was an issue with Doublelift's OBS settings, and that she had worked in the same room as Doublelift while he streamed in the past with no issues.
However, this is ultimately an inexcusable mistake.
For Dardoch, this is certainly a terrible way to find out you've lost your starting spot in an LCS roster, if that indeed proves to be the case. For TSM, it just adds fuel to the flames of controversy regarding Doublelift's move and conflict of interest, and projects a poor image on the League community as a whole — and as a business. Questions could even be raised as to whether this construes constructive dismissal, therefore opening TSM up to legal action.
It remains to be seen how Riot Games will react, but one thing is for sure — the controversy isn't dying down anytime soon.
After two years and four LCS titles at Team Liquid, Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng is returning to his former team, Team SoloMid.
Header image courtesy of Riot Games.