Hello! A lot has been said about recent facts between LG Players, LG org and SK and I'd like to express what happened during that time, from our player perspective.
TO SITUATE YOU BEFORE SK APPROACH
Binding Letter of Intent SIGNED - LG EXTENDED CONTRACT
Going back, on 10 December 2015, before going to vacation, we played ESL ESEA in Burbank. It was on that tournament that we signed and made a new deal with LG to next year. We signed a Binding Letter of Intention that had all the changes we would have adapted to our old contract. LG started paying us the new salary right in next months, being completed 2 payments before all the SK history came along. Which means they were fulfilling their new commitments.
First time I've ever received a message from SK was when I received a mail from one of their owners, Alex, on February, 3rd. He said that he was interested on signing us on SK.
I quickly answered that I was honored to receive that kind of message and them proceed with that exact answer:
"Hello Alexander, how are you doing? As we are in contract with LG, all conversations about switching teams and kind of things must be directly done with Steve, aka Buyaka, LG owner. If you want his contact here is his mail: [email protected]
As you may not know, but it's good to point out, I never take decisions or judge what is good or bad for all of us by myself. I let my teammates know that they contacted us.
I never replied later replies, but other teammates decided to start talk to them.
TEAMMATES DECIDE TO TALK TO SK
At the beginning, I didn't know what do to about the fact that some of my players wanted to keep talking. From one point, I didn't want to be the guy that would not let my teammates look for more information or opportunities. On the other hand, I knew that they shouldn't be doing that because we had just signed and agreed weeks before on a raise, contract extension and new contract between LG and us.
No differently from others organisations, its normal to have some small issues. We have been through growing pains, expanding fast and trying to improve daily. Both players and organisations. Because of those problems some of our players thought wrongly that they have the right to go out and start looking for other teams while on contract. Today they recognize this was a mistake.
You also need to understand that everything happened so fast for our team. We went from a unknown group of Brazilian players to the best team in the world within 1 year. That also reflects that LG had to adjust several times in order to compensate, accommodate and modify themselves to keep us satisfied. And I will let you know, they have done A LOT in the aspect to make us happy. That means often they needed time to get more sponsor money, find new sponsors, hire more people etc. This is the mainly reason why I NEVER wanted to leave LG.
There has been some small delays on prize pool payments but nothing too big. LG always paid us and we know that compared to other orgs that we have knowledge we have good percentages on sticker money, prize money etc. So it has always been a fair relationship. LG has always take good care of us and never take advantage from our positions. They have always put us players ahead of themselves.
"OFFICIAL CONTRACT" BEING FULLFILED BUT NOT SIGNED YET (BINDING LOI SIGNED)
The "Letter of Intent" said that they would estimate a full contract within 14 days. However, the basic terms of this agreement were very clear. During some attempts, in next tournaments, LG owner (Steve) tried to bring us to the conversation and sign the new contracts. I saw the contracts myself on 2 occasions.
Due to the team being focused in playing the tournaments, plus Steve not being too concerned or rushing about signing it because he trusted us, we ended up delaying signing it because it wasn't our focus and never separated time to do that.
Steve tried to bring this conversation to the table and we kept postponing till we didn't do it.
It's important to point that Steve has been fixing everything we discussed in the meeting during December 2015 and started paying new salaries and new amounts right after it, even if without the official contracts being signed yet, which means for everybody it was valid.
SK trying to convince LG players
SK told us right in the beginning to don't share the infos we were discussing about with anyone. He knew it was wrong and so do us.
SK knew we had a LOI to extend our contract signed and not only didn't respect it, as they said they would when they first approached me, but helped inserting into my teammates mind that they didn't have to fulfill our contract with LG.
If you take a look on the conversations my teammates (and later I) had with SK you gonna understand that they tried to convince us that it was easy to leave LG. They asked for details on our contract, asked for LOI, send it to their lawyers and gave us reports that we would never had any problem in that situation, they could "free" us. They also mentioned that they would pay for anything that was needed in case of we going to court.
On my opinion, we had an agreement. Steve was doing his part so on my point of view we should continue to do ours.
On one side was all my teammates willing to do something else and me standing on LG side. I gave up trying to convince them that what they were doing was not fair. They had been well instructed by SK that they had better options and that they deserved better. SK even said that the new salary from LG would be a good offer, if they didn't have a better one from SK.
TEAMMATES DECIDE TO NOT SIGN ANYMORE AFTER SK APPROACH
Later, after February and SK approach, Steve tried to make us sign the contract in next tournaments but it was my teammates who started to avoid it, because now we had a situation where a new team was looking for us and had convinced us that LOI wasn't valid and only if we signed we would be "stuck".
FALLEN DECISION TO TAKE
I mentioned to my team and they can prove that if asked, that what they were doing was wrong. I had a super stressful day where it even passed into my mind leaving LG and creating a new team.
I couldn't stand the fact that we were going behind our own words. For me, it's not a question of signing a paper or not that makes me being loyal.
They kept saying that because of some organisation problems and the fact that LG didn't "send" us the contract in 14 days, they were free to look for something else. I said that this was not true, mainly because he was paying and full filling his other commitments for 2 months already. Also pointed that it was our fault lately that we didn't sign the long form contract.
I had to make a choice. It was rather sticking with my friends and accepting that it was a team decision or leaving them.
I need to say that I really felt super bad with all this happening and considering moving along. I did talk with my family and other important people for me and they made me realize I should stay with them, even if I didn't agree with it. Our team could have split because of that.
PLAYERS WANTS TO GO BACK IN OLD CONTRACTS
Together we decided to tell LG that we no longer wanted to represent LG until 2017 and that we wanted him to sell us. We were on a very difficult situation because we couldn't be 100% transparent as he had no idea we had already an agreement with another organisation. We pointed SK in this direction once again and told them that we would only leave if Steve was somehow fairly compensated for what we did together.
That was super naive from our part as of course SK knew that our contract would be theoretically "ending" in July. There was no reason for them to spend a real buyout deserving of our team's worth knowing that. So of course their conversations didn't progress.
It's good to point that on the negotiations we had with SK, they would reimburse us all the money we would be losing with LG, as we were trying to go back in the contract extension.
STEVE TRIES TO SELL TEAM
Besides that the relation ship between players and Steve was not the same anymore, because he was disappointed that we thought it was possible to go back in the LOI, as he had been fulfilling his duties.
He tried to explain to us, even bring a lawyer to the discussion to show us that what we had signed was actually a real thing, but we had already made our decision, believing we were in our right to leave and that Steve would get compensated.
Steve understanding that we no longer wanted to play for him started to look into the market for another organisations.
This is where the FaZe rumor came up and we received another proposals from other teams.
WHY WE SIGNED WITH SK
That was a super crazy moment in our lives as we had to focus on playing the next major (biggest tournament in CSGO history) and solve this organisation situation.
We are very amateurs on business, we are young and most of us never has been through those process. All we wanted is to solve it as soon as we could before the major to play it the best we could. We definitely made a mistake there and we are the only ones to blame.
Also, as discussed in some meetings with SK, they told us that if we wanted to get into WESA (a new organisation that we didn't know too much about on that time) we would need to go fast into signing it, as they said that the window to join would close in the coming weeks. There would also be a signing bonus and with our line-up they were 100% guaranteed to join it.
That led us to 1 day before traveling to the major, where we decided as group to sign the contract. Biggest mistake of our lives.
At least, it gave us some tranquility to focus on the tournament, which we didn't have since we started talking about those things.
REGRETTING OUR DECISION
During the tournament and after winning it, we had the chance to talk personally with Steve. We didn't even have time to celebrate our win. It was a very shit situation because we felt and actually we were going into his back.
We signed something going over the contract we had signed with him.
I remember being on the dinner table and not being able to look into his eyes. No one of us had the courage to admit we signed it. But later or sooner we had to admit it.
You would imagine that he would be super mad with that news but it wasn't really what happened.
He was so disappointed as he saw his friends betraying him, and we felt exactly the same thing. There is no worse feeling than doing something wrong for someone that has always looked out for you.
We went back to the hotel and had a team meeting. Everyone was feeling super bad. We felt that this kind of action was not part of who we are and we would fight to change that.
But we had just won a major and the prize money could change all our lives. Even though we felt bad we had to be very careful... It's not that we thought Steve would be capable of holding our part of the shares but it's just something that came into our minds. We had never imagined to see this kind of a large prize. Like I said, this is life changing.
We went to MLG and asked them if it would be possible to receive the prize pool directly if needed, giving LG their share before hand and sending us the remaining. They said it was perfectly fine, as they had a similar situation in the past.
It's good to point it out because of course we were concerned about the prize money but it wasn't what made us want to stick with LG. We could have our money either way. Even SK organisation guaranteed they would pay us in case LG withheld our money. With all this information we saw that we still wanted to stay with LG... and we were 100% sure it wasn't about the prize money and because we actually wanted to stay.
It's also important to note that LG has NEVER threaten us to hold our prize money. We were just worried. In fact, they consistently told us that they would not hold our prize money and not to worry. Steve said that he just wanted us to be happy and if we wanted to be sold them it is.
TIME LINE LETTING SK KNOW ABOUT THE SITUATION
SK send their contract on 21 March. We signed it 1 day before leaving to the Major, 26 March. As soon as we get back from that travel, with our decision made, we tried to let them know that we no longer wanted to be part of SK.
They told us to grow up and the contract was signed.
We spoke with our lawyer and he got in contact with SK. From this day forward, we players never talked to SK again. Two days later, our lawyer said that he talked with SK lawyer (Pietro F).
It was communicated to us that we could be out of ESL Leagues, that we could receive an injunction and not be able to play CS during the contract time. He also made very clear his connections with ESL and WESA were very strict and our team would be penalized for that. (This is the lawyer that was from WESA and commissioner of WESA).
I agree and understand we made a very big mistake but we never received anything (not 1 cent) or started working with SK. Also, the timeline between we signing and not wanting to stay anymore was very short (time of going back from major+malmo trip - 22 days)
As we said previously, we are very amateurs and we don't have many laws knowledge, even more when this is all about a lot of different countries in same problem.
In our opinion:
We feel awful about all this messy situation we created. We are going through a learning experience and mistakes were made. It's hard for us since we came from nowhere and achieved so much in such a small short of time. We had no counseling through most of this, so even tho these were mistakes, it was the best we could at the time with so many things happening at the same time.
We would like to make it clear that we have not and we would never use SK contract to get a better offer from LG. As you guys may know SK wasn't the only organisation that came to us in the recent past.
What we didn't realize was that the move made by Alex and SK was actually something called "Tortuous Interference", which is illegal not only in sports. Googling it, you will conclude it means they are interfering with a team that actually is under contract, for their own benefits, doesn't matter if it's later or not.
I tried to alert them on the very single first mail they sent me to talk directly to Steve. Later, after all negotiations, they told us they would give us a 1 million dollar open check as safety.
Then I ask you, why they didn't go to Steve and try to buy the team by correct standards if they could afford?
If it wasn't for this relentless approach and their lies about being okay to discuss about theoretically setting up something for the end of our contract we would never be in this situation. Of course we are here to blame for not handling that in a better way, being ourselves naive and greedy sometimes.
We are proud to be part of LG, we like to be here, we feel home and we want to keep writing history together.
We will keep improving not only in-game but in life decisions as well.
Gabriel FALLEN Toledo
Marcelo COLD David
Epitacio TACO De Melo
Wilton ZEWS Prado
Fernando FER Alvarenga
Lincoln FNX Lau
Ricardo DEAD Sinigaglia