Contract Buyout & Disputes: Behind Tainted Minds League of Legends Walk-Out
After OPL League of Legends team Tainted Minds walked out the week before their game against Abyss eSports Club, many people were shocked and wanted to understand the reason behind it all. Days passed without an official statement which until the eve of their next game Tainted Minds released a statement to us revealing they’re fielding a roster made up of their OCS players and remaining player – Mark ‘Praedyth’ Lewis. The statement also mentioned the player’s that walked out was still contracted to their organisation and did not further mention any other details.
There was much speculation and talk about the contract disputes but the Tainted Minds coach, Nick ‘Inero’ Smith has released a statement revealing that he attempted a buy-out of his contract before the roster locked in and why the team walked out of the house.
“The fact that Tainted Minds were unwilling to respond and update me on the price of my buyout, until after the roster lock date and Riot Games became involved, leads me to believe that they were intending to withhold me from seeking other opportunities with other OPL teams. I brought this issue up with Riot Games when I approached them on January 11th but it has ultimately been dismissed”
After a surprise announcement on Twitter from Nick ‘Inero’ Smith claiming free agency which shocked many, he later revealed in this statement that after countless attempts to discuss the situation with Riot Games – the company finally held a mediation session.
“After contacting Riot, they agree to set up a mediation session with the management of Tainted Minds to help resolve the issues we had been facing. A house inspection and a mediation session before the start of OPL are both cancelled despite the issues remaining. Another meeting is set for January 22nd, but is ultimately cancelled due to a public holiday. The next meeting is set for January 26th but is also cancelled. The next meeting is set for February 6th, and ultimately goes through. This happens after I have already announced my free agency on Twitter, and I believe my announcement is the only reason it going forward after the multiple cancellations prior. The contents of the meeting are under NDA with Riot Games and are not meant to be published.”
Since the team moved into the gaming house, the roster faced issues. The details that were revealed to us highlighted the lack of infrastructure and living conditions within the gaming house to successfully run this team. There was mentions of basic necessities such as internet and power issues, no air-con and even the lack of suitable gaming PCs for the players to scrim on. With the basic needs and computers not performing to suitable standard – the roster was unhappy and could not perform to the best of their ability. Because of these issues, Nick ‘Inero’ Smith alongside ex-Tainted Minds LoL Manager ‘Fasffy’ with the assistance of Jessep Entertainment and Sports Lawyers has challenged their contracts citing multiple breaches from the organisation.
“According to our lawyer, we have legally terminated our contract for cause and are not bound to represent Tainted Minds any further. The only way we are currently bound to Tainted Minds is through the Riot Contract Database. Tainted Minds have opted to make no move on the matter, and because of this inaction, Riot continue to keep us within the database.”
It was also stated the players were beginning to receive offers they could not pursue because they were bound by the Riot Contract Database. Until Riot Games or Tainted Minds releases their contracts, the players can’t move on. The issues stemmed further from the statements outlined above (with lots of evidence and chat logs presented to us) but Nick ‘Inero’ Smith mentioned these were primary factors of how the situation panned out. Nick ‘Inero’ Smith also reiterated that he has always worked in the best interest of the organisation alongside Fasffy to fix the issues internally but ultimately was not able to come to a resolution.
We have reached out to Tainted Minds regarding the statements made but have refused to comment so far.