League of Legends

Players depart Griffin amidst LoL contract controversy

by Andrew Amos
Michal Konkol for Riot Games

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Three of Griffin’s star players have left the embattled LCK team in the wake of Riot Korea’s investigation into alleged violence and corruption plaguing the League of Legends organization.

The Griffin saga has rocked Korean LoL over the past month. After former coach Kim ‘cvMax’ Dae-ho was fired before Worlds, allegations of contract tampering, violence against players, and corruption have plagued the rookie LCK org.

Riot Korea handed down their initial findings on November 20, laying out indefinite suspensions on cvMax and manager Cho Kyu-nam, as well as a $85,000 fine for the team. In response, Griffin has released a handful of their star players before the start of the 2020 season.

Michal Konkol for Riot Games
Michal Konkol for Riot Games
Lehends will not be playing for Griffin in 2020.

In a November 25 statement, Griffin announced the release of Choi ‘Doran’ Hyeon-joon, Jeong ‘Chovy’ Ji-hoon, and Son ‘Lehends’ Si-woo.

“We are here to convey a piece of upsetting news,” it said. “Our contract with Lehends, Doran and Chovy was ended after mutual consent. Sincerely thank you for bringing precious memories and spectacular games to Griffin.”

Doran signed onto Griffin for LCK 2019 Summer, while Chovy and Lehends have been a part of the team since they promoted into the LCK in 2018.

The trio are expected to stay within the LCK, according to a report by Korean esports news site Naver. Doran, Chovy, and Lehends will be joining DragonX for 2020, alongside bot laner Kim ‘Deft’ Hyuk-kyu.

It has also been reported that cvMax’s ban will be lifted, meaning that the former Griffin coach will be able to lead DragonX in LCK 2020.

It comes after Griffin released all of their players to free agency in an attempt to resolve some of the complaints raised in Riot Korea’s initial investigation.

Twitch: LCK
Twitch: LCK
cvMax is expected to join DragonX for 2020 if his ban is lifted.

“We will void all the contracts that were previously made under the wrong practice,” the organization said, according to a translation by Korizon. “We will draft new contracts that address the unfair clauses in the existing contracts.

“We will also respect the wishes of the player, if a player asks to become a free agent instead of renewing this new contract and will release them as a free agent.”

Riot Korea have also come under fire for their investigations into Griffin, with senators from the South Korean government highlighting corruption within Riot Korea and Griffin themselves. 

Michal Konkol for Riot Games
Michal Konkol for Riot Games
Griffin finished Worlds 2019 in 5-8th.

Senator Ha Tae-kyung noted that Griffin had forged legal documents submitted to Riot Korea regarding Kanavi’s contract, and that Riot Korea had broken the Whistleblower Protection Bill.

A petition made to Korea’s Blue House, the house of the President, to investigate Riot Korea and Griffin has garnered 185,000 signatures in the space of a week. Once the petition hits 200,000, the South Korean government will open their own investigation into the saga.