Back in early August T1 Esports, formally known as SKT T1, announced that renowned player Faker would be benched from the line-up. While esports players get benched all the time, this one seemed to really hit a nerve in a way most others don’t.
It sparked widespread anger and confusion among fans who saw Faker as one of the best League of Legends players of all time and the most popular player on the roster. It’s fair to say that Faker’s career has been impressive, with the star winning numerous titles, accolades, and winning the World Championships three times. However, T1 decided to bench Faker based on his recent performance and place Lee ‘Clozer’ Ju-hyeon in the mid lane spot.
Shortly after the announcement that Faker was being benched, angry fans took to their keyboard to announce their displeasure. However, some people clearly took it too far, and not long after the announcement, CEO of T1 Joe Marsh, released a statement on Twitter. The statement, released in both English and Korean on August 9, suggested that violent threats have been made to players, coaches, and employees of T1. It didn’t expand on what these threats were or who specifically was targeted, but it did say that legal action will follow if the threats continue. It read “The health and safety of our players remains our top priority – there is no place for hate in esports”.
Well, we’re now exactly one month on and it looks like the attacks did keep rolling in.
In a Tweet, Joe Marsh said “We asked nicely a few weeks back. We said we would take action. We said we would do anything to protect our players, coaches, and staff. We say what we mean and we mean what we say.” The tweet was accompanied by a photo that said that legal action would be taken against attackers.
Faker won’t be Going to the World Championships
In other T1 news, Gen.G beat T1 3-0 yesterday in the LCK regional finals to qualify for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship. T1 used the same roster as they did the previous day when they beat Afeeca Freecs, however, this wasn’t enough to beat Gen.G who proved themselves to be the stronger players. Gen.G took control straight away in the first game, dominating the top and middle lanes early on and T1 lost. Faker did his best to carry the team in the second match, even surviving a 1v3 attack, but they ultimately lost the game. The third game was tragic for T1, they couldn’t secure a single neutral objective and their composition simply didn’t work.
It’s hard to predict what effect this will have on the T1 threats. Some might argue that T1 was right, Faker isn’t performing as well as he used to, or the team simply isn’t gelling, and it’s time for a shakeup. However, never underestimate what angry fans will do to have their voices heard. With more disappointing news for T1, who knows if these attacks will continue. Hopefully, now that T1 has proven themselves to be serious about legal action, the threats will stop.