Top Halo Pro Stops Playing In Protest Against Own Team
“Tyler has made it clear that he won’t be forced to play,” Nate Drexler, an attorney and Ganza’s representative, told Kotaku in a statement. “We’ve seen this before from him. He doesn’t want to be silenced and he doesn’t want to be forced into playing. We hope to find a resolution that gives him the opportunity to play in a more favorable situation with another organization.”
In a tweet, Ganza said his demands amounted to Geddes getting booted off the starting roster. Geddes did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment.
The entire situation has set off a bit of a public relations fire for eUnited, which has recently made inroads as one of the bigger Halo pro teams. Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeSpartan picked up steam on Twitter. (Some fans misinterpreted it as #FreeSparty, which: lol.) On Reddit, Halo esports fans seem to grasp the business motivations underpinning these decisions but largely say they’d prefer to see eUnited let Ganza go to another team. As noted by Dexetro’s Hayden Oberg, there’s even some cross-disciplinary support for Ganza: A handful of Counter Strike: Global Offensive pro players have publicly weighed in with support.
In the interest of “objectivity” and “fairness,” and those other journalistic “values,” it’s probably not my place to pass any judgment here. But if you ask me as just a person, yeah, based on the info that’s publicly out there, I guess I don’t see why eUnited can’t let him go. Dude’s clearly not happy at eUnited—and the team’s performance has steadily declined over the course of the season, seemingly as a direct result of clashing personalities. At this juncture, short of, say, contractual details getting revealed, this sure seems like a petty move, at best. And it’s not just Ganza who loses out here! He’s really fucking fun to watch in competition; ensuring he can’t play for the rest of the season means viewers lose out, too. Plus, letting him go to another org could give eUnited management a chance to create a roster with better synergy. (Deese, for what it’s worth, said he’s “grinding and staying in Halo shape for whatever opportunities come in the future.”)
Anyway, here’s Ganza and Drexler’s statement in full:
On May 14, Tyler announced that he is benching himself. Tyler received strong interest from another Halo organization and asked his organization if he could be let out of his contract as he was not happy in his current situation. A couple days before the Anaheim LAN tournament Tyler found out that his organization was attempting to have one of his teammates replaced without his knowledge. Subsequently, the team lost their cohesion and Tyler based his decision on his inability to perform under the circumstances.
With regards to the contract, eUnited stated unequivocally that they would not move Tyler, and then curiously announced that they were working with Tyler and trying to find a solution that worked best for all parties. We are under a contractual obligation to not give details about the eUnited contract, but several attorneys are reviewing the contract as we believe certain terms are unconscionable and oppressive.
Tyler has made it clear that he won’t be forced to play. We’ve seen this before from him. He doesn’t want to be silenced and he doesn’t want to be forced into playing. We hope to find a resolution that gives him the opportunity to play in a more favorable situation with another organization.
Tyler was on the phone with eUnited last Wednesday. The call was on speaker and he has a witness who can attest that eU management stated “I will not let you go anywhere. You are not tradable. You are not for sale, and I will not give in and let you go anywhere. You will only play for eUnited this season. If I have to put you on the bench for 4-5 months and give you substitute pay and you will sit out of Orlando and Worlds. I have done this to other players before and I will do this to you.”
Curiously, eU management stated to both Tyler and myself (with another attorney present) that he would “never” hold a player on his organization that did not want to be there. This was prior to the contract being signed. He told that to Tyler on the phone. He told it to me on the phone, and at the time he told me there was a second attorney on the same call. He gave assurances.
That said, the posture change is alarming and unprofessional and we will continue examining the contract and will seek every available remedy that Tyler has. In the meantime, he will continue to sit on the bench being paid next to nothing, and we will continue to monitor offers from other organizations.
Drexler added that he’s spoken to eUnited, which is “still pursuing trades [or] buyouts that will be mutually beneficial to all parties.” Representatives for eUnited did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment.