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Opinion

Does Riot have it out for MonteCristo? — Renegades banned drama

In the aftermath of the chaos that’s happened in the last 24 hours between Riot, MonteCristo, the Renegades Organization, and Team Impulse, we’re here to catch you up. This started two days ago in a decision that felt strange when Freeze, now formerly of Renegades, departed the team to join up with European LCS contender H2K. Later on that day on his live stream Freeze stated the he had originally planned on staying with Renegades for the 2016 Summer Split however opted to leave after learning that his teammates Serpah and Ninja would also be leaving. Then yesterday evening Freeze’s reasoning for decision making became apparent. Riot has handed down bans to both Renegades, Team Dragon Knights, and Team Impulse of the NA LCS. From Riot’s official announcement, “Renegades management has been found to have knowingly violated the competitive ban against Chris Badawi, misrepresented their relationship with TDK, and compromised player welfare and safety. Both the Renegades organization and TDK organization will no longer be allowed to continue participating in Riot-sanctioned leagues. In addition, Chris Badawi will be permanently banned from association or affiliation with any team or organization participating in a Riot-sanctioned league, while Christopher Mykles is banned for one year from holding any Riot-sanctioned position within a competing organization. Chris and Sean Shim of TDK are indefinitely banned from association or affiliation with an organization in a Riot-sanctioned league, subject to first review in January 2019.”

MonteCristo, freelance shout caster currently under contract with OGN (OnGameNet of Korea), also serves as co-owner of Renegades. Back in late March MonteCristo and his colleagues DoA and PapaSmithy were approached by Riot to shout cast their 2016 Mid-Season Invitational, but according to MonteCristo and company they were not offered a competitive pay rate for their work stating “We rely on these contracts for our income and feel that we would damage our careers in the long term by accepting below-market rates, furthermore, by agreeing to a significantly lower wage we fear that we may contribute to the regression of standards for freelance casters in the industry as a whole.” MonteCristo continued with similar statements regarding Riot’s decision to attempt to underpay him and his fellow shout casters throughout the month of April on Twitter, which may have sparked a bit of bad blood between the two.

montecristo renegades banned

Fast forward back to yesterday when Riot handed down the bans to Renegades, TDK, and Team Impulse and Monte is not happy to say the very least. Monte took to Twitter to discuss the issue and will have more to say in the future that’s for sure. Because MonteCristo was co-owner of Renegades he is no longer allowed to have ownership in any teams participating in any of League of Legends’ leagues (NA LCS, EU LCS, LPL, LCK, LMS). Monte has denied nearly all allegations from Riot, also going out of his way to state that Riot’s rulings are unfair as they act as their own investigative and judicial systems privately.

Also mentioned by MonteCristo is that there was never any evidence placed in front of him, and he was only informed of his ban just 30 minutes prior to the announcement from Riot. Renegades former and current players have came out in support of Monte and Renegades. Crumbz, Jungler for Renegades stated “My teammates and I aren’t spineless. We would not put up with even one instance of an unsafe environment.” Selfie, another former player of the organization stated the following, “During my time in NA Renegades helped me and @k0ulol to have a place to live and provided food and good place to live for free when needed… Renegades are actually very very good to not only their players but every other player too.” With no proof presented yet, is it possible that this could all tie back to the statements MonteCristo made regarding Riot not paying their shout casters a viable wage? Maybe.

For about a week in March some of the biggest news out of the League of Legends competitive scene was that fan favorites MonteCristo, PapaSmithy, and DoA would not be casting League of Legend’s second biggest tournament of the year, MSI. During this week Monte released multiple tweets regarding the decision making and unwillingness to pay a high enough wage for his work. This is very negative press for a company like Riot who is the biggest name in eSports (which also comes with the most money in eSports), which may have left a bad taste in Riot’s mouth. According to Bryce Blum, attorney and founder of the eSports Player Resource Center “Riot acts as judge, jury & executioner. They write, interpret, and enforce rules with no 3rd party input, transparency, or the opp to appeal.” Essentially stating that when it comes to Riot’s Leagues they can do whatever they want. In theory they could have decided Monte bad mouthed him too much and made him pay. Is it unlikely? Certainly. However with Riot governing themselves and not presenting any proof in this case thus far it’s certainly suspicious.

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