In the wake of Leena Xu’s leak regarding the contract prospects of TSM jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, as well as multiple discussions about the conflict of interest between Xu and TSM bot laner Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, TSM owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh came out with a lengthy statement about everything that’s been happening with his team in the recent weeks.
Instead of clearing the air, however, Reginald’s statement is just another exercise in PR gibberish, a re-shaping of facts and narratives, and avoiding the crux of the problem, as we break it down below.
On Dardoch’s situation
“I want to personally apologize to our community for how we’ve managed the communication of Dardoch’s transfer,” Reginald begins and already the first sentence contains dishonesty. Dardoch’s transfer was not communicated, poorly or otherwise. It was leaked through the incompetent management of TSM’s own president, directly damaging Dardoch’s off-season prospects and bargaining position with future teams.
As if reading directly from Blizzard’s PR guidelines, Reginald offers no concrete solution and doesn’t mention how and if the responsible parties will be reprimanded. “We will reflect on our mistakes and make the necessary changes to prevent this from happening again” is so vague that it could just mean “we will make sure that Doublelift’s stream doesn’t pick up Leena’s voice from the background, while she continues to discuss sensitive information about the team in front of him”.
The personal apology part is about as empty as Leena’s “unfortunate mistake honestly” Reddit comment.
On the conflict of interest between Doublelift and Leena
There’s a lot to unpack here, too, and all of it proves Reginald and TSM either do not understand what a conflict of interest is, are willing to lie about it, or are willing to ignore the problem, hoping it will go away on its own.
“To be clear, most of Leena’s day-to-day responsibility is the TSM’s expansion into various games titles (Fortnite, Smash, PuBG, Apex, WoW, Hearthstone, etc.). She has no decision-making power over our LCS roster, players, or salaries. She works on business operations and content with the League. All roster decisions and budgeting are made by our General Manager Parth Naidu and myself.”
All of this is largely irrelevant in regards to the conflict of interest question. There is no “more conflict” or “less conflict” gradient. There either is a conflict, or there isn’t and “most” is not “none and never”. Leena working on business operations with the LCS already confirms that conflict of interest exists, as does the phone call that leaked Dardoch’s situation, where she discusses the state of the League of Legends roster in front of a member of said roster.
“In my opinion as the leader of this organization, there is no financial benefit or working benefit from their relationship.”
By itself, this is a direct opposite of what Doublelift said upon joining TSM, quote:
“It’s really awesome that we’re working on the same org. That’s not a conflict of interest, that’s an alignment of interest. It’s really awesome that I can be in a relationship with someone who directly benefits from a good performance by me.”
For the sake of brevity, we’ll skip over how having “alignment of interest” does not exclude “conflict of interest”. The two, in fact, always go hand in hand: there is an alignment for the parties that benefit and conflict for everyone else.
There is, of course, both financial and working benefit to TSM spanning from this relationship, but the real issue that Reginald conveniently forgets to bring up are the detriments and not the benefits that could stem from the situation which have been outlined in multiple articles, videos, and editorials by journalists, including having to deal with potential bad break-up, encountering roster change issues due to the relationship and, well, a player and all his viewers becoming privy to a confident information. Doublelift and Leena living together has already harmed Reginald’s business and it’s just been two weeks since the transfer.
On whether Doublelift is privy to confidential information
“Dardoch’s position change is not privileged information within our company. Every LCS player and esports manager at TSM knows of this change. The roster change decision was made by Parth, our coaching staff, and the players of our last season’s LCS roster,” Reginald writes.
Here, Reginald conveniently only addresses the Dardoch situation, choosing to ignore any and all privy information that Doublelift could’ve been privy to while he was on Team Liquid. Chances are, of course, that Doublelift had no access to such information prior to joining TSM, but Xu’s well-documented, careless behavior — even after she was warned people can hear her on stream — raises serious doubts. In fact, Leena herself confirmed on Reddit that she’s been working in the presence of Doublelift in the past but “didn’t have many issues” — maybe she meant not many issues were live-streamed to tens of thousands accidentally — meaning Doublelift likely was privy to confidential TSM business information.
Even between just them three, Reginald, Leena, and Doublelift cannot set their stories straight, as also evidenced by past statements made by Leena, directly contradicting Reginald’s words.
Furthermore, Reginald fails to address what makes Xu’s slip up particularly damaging to Dardoch. It is not that TSM are considering dropping him and finding a new jungler, which, granted, would not be a privileged information within a League of Legends roster. It is that there are no teams willing to pick up Dardoch which is a privileged, confidential information that Doublelift should not have access to as merely a player within the organization. By issuing this exact statement, Reginald shows that he either doesn’t understand the issue at hand, or is attempting to re-shape the facts so that he and TSM can arrive to an absolvable position.