Reginald Explains His Side of the Seangares Debacle
Owner and former League of Legends player for Team SoloMid, Andy “Reginald” Dinh, has come out to shed light on his side of the latest episode of drama in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community: The players’ open letter against the PEA, and the removal of Sean “seangares” Gares from their lineup.
To catch you up to speed, on December 21st Scott “SirScoots” Smith published an open letter to the Professional Esports Association that voiced the thoughts and concerns of the players involved in the PEA’s member teams. The letter primarily lamented about the PEA’s rumored exclusivity, which would force the member teams to sit out of the next season of the ESL Pro League, and claimed that they had, in a sense, been duped into a bad situation. If you would like to read the full letter you can do so by clicking here, but this was the gist of it.
Just a day later, one of the most recent additions to Team SoloMid’s lineup, seangares, took to Twitter to claim that he is being removed from the team due to being involved with the open letter. Reginald quickly denied his accusations, explaining in an emotional post on TwitLonger that his reasons went beyond just the surface of the letter. Responses to both the open letter, Regi’s response to the open letter, and responses to responses began to release online in a constant rapid-fire of TwitLonger posts but, today, Reginald has taken a step back and went on Duncan “Thorin” Shields’ show to explain, in-depth and calmly, the story from his side of things as an organization owner.
The podcast started off with Reginald clarifying that it wasn’t his decision to add seangares to the team, because he put more faith in his players’ and his manager’s opinions than his own due to his admitted lack of experience in CS:GO. He mentioned that he was hesitant to sign seangares due to a suspicion that he may not be entirely focused on his team’s success, but Reginald was confident that he would make for a good addition to the roster in terms of sponsorships and potential to be a strong brand ambassador due to his reputation as a top-tier NA player.
The reputation Reginald mentions is a strong and storied career that seangares has built for himself over several years, having competed in fourteen seasons of ESEA and seeing consistent success in the events that he has competed in before joining Echo Fox. Seangares has accrued over 135,000 followers on Twitter, and just shy of 140,000 followers on his streaming channel, in the last four years, making him an incredibly influential personality in the scene.
Thorin and Reginald also touched base on the contents of seangares’ contract regarding the PEA, Reginald explained that seangares willfully gave up his right to choose what events to play in for the higher salary that he demanded.
“That’s why I was so frustrated when he went public around the situation a week after he had signed.”
It was also mentioned how the situation went beyond just the open letter, as the situation being so public meant that Team SoloMid’s relationships with their sponsors were at risk of being damaged. Reginald explained that the TSM Reddit had a “long thread” where users were organizing a sort of movement where they would contact the organization’s sponsors and accuse them of mistreating their CS:GO players and violating their player rights. As a result, sponsors have already begun backing out and withdrawing their support from TSM’s Counter-Strike team.
“And the irony about it is, that, the players are fighting for control so that they can get (…) paid more, but the way they’re going about it is wrong. Because sponsors and advertisers are 99% of the revenue in esports, and that’s how we pay our players. So when our players go about it [like that], it actually hurts our ability to pay the players.”
In a post to TwitLonger titled “A Unified Reply” the TSM CS:GO team posted a response that they understood that the manner in which they chose to take action was one that may have been a mistake. While rejecting the allegations being made towards Team SoloMid on how the organization was mistreating them, though, the team stood by everything that was said in the letter even if they weren’t making any attempts to undermine or attack the organization.
Reginald shed light on his thought process during the text messages shared by seangares, saying that it was not his intention to make it out to be like he was bullying his in-game leader out of the organization, rather Reginald was trying to figure out why seangares was blatantly disregarding his contractual obligations.
“I didn’t know what he wanted. I wanted him to tell me what he wanted, and I just assumed he wasn’t happy with being a part of our brand because he wouldn’t talk to me.”
With the trust between the player and organization owner already shattered just a week into their relationship, when Reginald was already so apprehensive about taking on seangares in the first place, the TSM founder felt little incentive to try to work things out. When he spoke to his players, who all agreed that they still wanted to play together as a five-man team, Reginald said that he urged the players to talk to seangares in a way that would explain that he was willing to work things out if he was willing to talk to him. According to Reginald, seangares had no interest in speaking with him.
Further along in the episode of Talk to Thorin, Reginald compared the contracts players hold with the contracts held by employees of any other company. He explained that when an employee signs on to a company with certain parameters set in their contacts, and then they refuse to fulfill their obligations while also smearing the company name, it’s understandable for the employer to release that person from employment.
Reginald admitted that he reacted in a knee-jerk reaction, mostly due to the fact that everything had come out of left field, and understands that it was his job to protect the players from the public and releasing conversation logs between his players was the wrong method to prove his point. Furthermore, Reginald feels that the situation would be been able to have been resolved had seangares agreed to speak with him in-person or in a call, rather than through messages.
The vast majority of the rest of the 1:20:00 episode covered the financial aspects and logitistics of managing eSports teams and organizations as a whole, including how important it is to tread lightly in terms of public relations. Reginald mentioned Team SoloMid’s former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, later to be rebranded as Astralis, and shed a fair amount of light on what happens when employees have different expectations from their employers, and what it means to evolve as a brand. Because it’s not entirely relevant to the general topic regarding seangares and the PEA it won’t be covered in this article, so if you would like to listen to everything Reginald has to say on that matter, you can watch the entire episode of Talk to Thorin above.