CWL Pro League team CEO responds to accusations of blackmailing players, refusing to pay salary

Matt Porter

Excelerate Gaming CEO Justin Tan has released an official response a day after he and his org were publicly accused of blackmailing their Call of Duty players. 

UPDATE – March 8

On March 8, in an exclusive interview with VPesports, ExG CEO Justin Tan admitted to making mistakes in the way he handled the situation with his players and expressed his apologies to everyone involved.

“I definitely made some mistakes and there are certain things I should have never done,” he said. “The worst part is how it affected the players. I thought I knew more than I did. I definitely could have handled this situation a lot better. Bottom line, I screwed up and am sorry.”

Original Story

Excelerate Gaming announced on Wednesday, March 6 that they had released their entire CWL Pro League roster barring Ethan ‘FA5TBALLA’ Wedgeworth, who would remain with the organization in a substitute capacity.

Also on March 6, Beehzy released a video on YouTube, in which he shares his side of the relationship between Excelerate and the players, and accuses Tan of using the CWL Pro League spot as a way of forcing the team into doing things they didn’t want to do.

Excelerate dropped their entire starting roster on March 6.

Said states that the issues with Excelerate began when the players were paid $213 for January in their first paycheck from the organization, instead of the $1,800 that was expected.

Beehzy claims that Tan attempted to sell the roster spot to Wildcard Gaming, and attempted to get the organization to assume all the debt owed to the five players. 

The players made it clear through another member of Excelerate staff that they needed to be paid their missing money from January for the transfer to Wildcard to take place, to which Tan responded: “They don’t really have any choice because I own the slot. If they want to play hardball I can just drop them all and sign new players.”

A screenshot which shows Justin stating the players didn’t “really have a choice.”

Said then states that after the first week of CWL Pro League matches, Tan sent the players a new contract that included Excelerate taking 100% of the player’s CWL Pro League salary, alongside 25% of their appearance fee when the players agreed to 15% of both of those originally – a contract which the team refused to sign.

“We legally didn’t have to sign a new contract,” said Beehzy. “But he was essentially holding the league spot over our heads. He didn’t straight up say it, but he was strongly suggesting that we had to sign it.”

Topic starts at 20:55 for mobile users.

Excelerate also attempted to drop three members of the roster before the Pro League even began, according to Beehzy, who explains that he only discovered this after Excelerate beat Team Envy in their first match in the competition.

This appears to have been confirmed by Tainted Minds CEO Nick Bobir, who posted on Reddit to say that Tan had approached him before the league had even started, offering to sell the spot.

Excelerate have received massive support from the community and fellow pro players, with OpTic Gaming star Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter voicing his support for the players, telling Beehzy he would post the video on Twitter, and congratulated the squad for not signing an extension with the organization.

The future of Excelerate’s CWL Pro League spot is now uncertain, as the organization currently has no starting lineup, and many fans are calling on Excelerate to lose their place in the competition entirely. It’s possible that the organization may attempt to sell the spot entirely. 

Dexerto have reached out to Tan for comment on the ongoing situation regarding Excelerate, with the Excelerate CEO stating that he would be releasing his own video on the subject in the future. 

Update – March 7

After posting the above video, Beehzy offered more insight on the situation with a series of tweets that seem to confirm that Excelerate don’t currently have any players signed to their roster whatsoever. 

While this contradicts the original statement from Excelerate that the team would be holding onto FA5TBALLA, Beehzy further explained that FA5TBALLA had decided to back out of the team altogether.  

Of course, none of this has been officially confirmed and we’ll continue to keep you updated on all the latest events of this developing story.