The internal drama of Team SoloMid’s CS:GO team has just arrived at an abrupt end. TSM has officially announced that the remaining players of the roster have been transferred to a new undisclosed organisation after releasing them from their contracts.
As you can read in the official announcement, this is the direct result of the conflict between ex-player Sean ‘sgares’ Gares and TSM’s owner, Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh. The affected players are Russel ‘Twistzz’ David Van Dulken, Shahzeb ‘ShahZaM’ Khan, Skyler ‘Relyks’ Weaver, and Hunter ‘SicK’ Mims.
Despite sgares’ conflict with the TSM management, the players continued to offer their support to their teammate. Furthermore, they had explicitly expressed a desire to continue playing with him, something that would just not be possible under the TSM banner. According to management, the decision to release the CS:GO team was disappointing but it was the best result for the players who can now continue on with their careers as they choose.
In case you have missed the controversy, allow me to elaborate further. In December of 2016, 25 players of the Professional eSports Association (PEA) banded together in an open letter against both team owners and the association.
The TSM CS:GO team members were among the players who signed the open letter which criticized its perceived lack of transparency. Soon after, the contract of sgares was terminated following a much-publicized exchange between him and Reginald.
The heart of the issue lied at the PEA’s future goals. Several eSports-famous teams, including Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid, founded PEA as an organization to not only protect eSports interests in North America but also to drive them forward by creating an official structure reminiscent of the NBA.
In theory, this would work in favor of both the players and the team owners. The former group would benefit from an official body, complete with a grievance committee and more vigorously-enforced contract rules. The latter group would be able to drive more sponsorships, trade agreements, and generally be more in control over what happened with their teams.
The problem, however, was that the PEA was perceived to be far too restrictive for the actual players. As alleged in the open letter, the PEA pressured the ESL Pro League (EPL) to abandon its operations in North America. If they failed to comply, the PEA would simply withdraw their teams from the EPL which would basically force their hand anyway.
This alleged boycotting attempt did not sit well with the players and the community. First and foremost, the players were never informed about this negotiation process, despite the fact that one of the supposed core elements of the PEA was transparency and a stronger voice for the players.
While the morality of such an action can certainly be disputed, preventing players from participating in competing leagues is not so far-fetched when looking at traditional sports. Both sides would hugely benefit from actual legal representation and an unbiased, third-party regulatory body. Of course, eSports still have a long way to go before such things can become a reality.
For now, all we know is that TSM will stay away from CS:GO for some time. In fact, it has only been a year since the organisation returned to the game and their experience has not been the best. It seems highly unlikely that they will never return to the scene, however, so you might be looking at a new TSM CS:GO roster in the coming months.
UPDATE: Misfits have entered CS:GO by acquiring TSM’s roster as well as their place on the upcoming season of the EPL.