Overwatch

Hangzhou Spark suspend absent Overwatch player, pursuing legal action

by Joe O'Brien

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Overwatch League team Hangzhou Spark have suspended DPS player Cai ‘Krystal’ Shilong and appear to be considering taking legal action for breach of contract.

According to a translation by Chinese Overwatch news Twitter @OWBeacon of a post by the Spark on Chinese social media site Weibo, Krystal has been suspended indefinitely effective immediately, and the consequences for his breach of contract will be handled by Hangzhou-based Tiance Law Firm.

It’s currently unclear exactly what consequences the Spark hope to pursue through the law firm.

The statement comes following an announcement by Hangzhou on July 25 that they had issued a fine and a “grave warning” to Krystal after the player was absent without permission.

The team stated that Krystal requested a ten-day leave to return to China from Los Angeles, where the Overwatch League teams currently compete, due to a family sickness.  The request was granted by the team, but he failed to return on the agreed date despite not requesting to extend his leave.

Hangzhou Spark have also now made a lengthy post detailing their experiences with Krystal, which highlights a variety of difficult behavior over the course of his tenure with the team.

Robert Paul/The Overwatch League
Robert Paul/The Overwatch League
Hangzhou Spark are one of the eight teams new to the league in Season 2.

Krystal was allegedly absent from or late to practices and activities going back to the Spark’s initial pre-season training in October 2018-January 2019, which took place in China. When the team travelled to the US ahead of Stage 1, he apparently entered on a tourist visa and was therefore unable to compete, despite the organization having secured the appropriate work visa.

These allegations, along with allegations of Krystal’s disruptive behavior within the team, are evidenced by images of the stamps on Krystal’s passport and messages between himself and the team.

The Spark also claim that after Krystal requested to be traded earlier in the season, they explored the possibility with Guangzhou Charge, Boston Uprising, and Washington Justice, but that no agreement was ever reached.

According to the post, Krystal has still not returned to the team, as he states he is suffering from depression and is being examined in hospital.