On May 8th, Riot Games released a competitive ruling against Renegades that permanently banned team co-owner Chris Badawi from any involvement or association with any team in a Riot Games sanctioned League. Riot also handed down a punishment against longtime OnGameNet caster Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, banning him from any team involvement in a Riot Games sanctioned League, the teams ownership group is also forced to sell their LCS spot within 10 days.
This is not the first time Badawi and Renegades have been punished by Riot Games, in June of 2015 Badawi was banned from any “official position for any team in all Riot-affiliated competition for the remaining 2015 and entire 2016 season.” And was forced to sell his minority stake in Team Dragon Knights for attempting to poach Yuri “Keith” Jew (now on Echo Fox) from Team Liquid as well former Liquid top laner Diego “Quas” Ruiz (now on NRG Esports).
The latest punishment comes as allegations that Renegades and Team Dragon Knights “deliberately misled League officials with respect to their corporate relationship” as well as the allegations that Christopher Mykles tried hiding the fact that Badawi was promised a 50% stake in Renegades once his suspension was lifted. The trade between Renegades and Team Dragon Knights of Alex Ich and RF Legendary for Seraph and Ninja were approved by Riot Games, but the fact that Badawi was a minority stake holder in Team Dragon Knights must have raised alarm bells, as TDK was also handed down a competitive ban against their ownership group, with allegations that Team Dragon Knights “Violated its team agreement by being untruthful in its representations to the League about its trade requests.” regarding their trade with Renegades. There were also allegations from Riot Games that player welfare was of concern regarding Badawi’s conduct with the organization and “confrontations between management and players, refusal to honor payments and contract provisions.”
These are serious allegations that Riot has levied at the Renegades organization, allegations that players and Renegades staff have vehemently denied:
Needless to say, all of Riot's accusations are baseless. We made an approved trade with TDK and followed all league rules.— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) May 9, 2016
Hours later he followed up with another set of tweets accusing Riot of not communicating with him or giving him the ability to defend his organization against these accusations:
For those asking: I was never presented evidence by Riot for these claims, nor did I know most of them existed.— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) May 9, 2016
Current and former Renegades players tweeted about the ordeal, with Alberto “Crumbz” Rengifo responding the allegations of player mistreatment:
My teammates and I aren't spineless. We would not put up with even one instance of an unsafe environment.— Alberto Rengifo (@RNGCrumbz) May 9, 2016
Former top laner RF Legendary (Currently on Team Dragon Knights) tweeted the following statement on Twitter, to corroborate with Crumbz and his former team mates and staffs assertion that there was no mistreatment of players:
I have never been mistreated on renegades and the entire experience working with the team has been a pleasure, players and especially staff.— RF Legendary (@RF_Legendary) May 9, 2016
Current support player Hakuho tweeted:
will probably make a statement regarding the "safe environment" later, think its kind of bs but don't know who riot heard from— Hakuho (@HakuhoLoL) May 9, 2016
Former support player Maria took a harsher tone, not defending the environment of the team but defending manager Matt Akhava:
w/e, my NACS problems are being remedied afaik, i havent been at REN for 3 months~ s/o to @RNGMatt for being a beast manager/friend.— Remi (@idolMariya) May 9, 2016
Riot will most likely not make the findings of their investigation open to the public for the protection of the player(s) who accused Renegades of mistreatment, but that won’t stop the public and Renegades players/staff from continuing to push back at Riots claims and we may see one of the first lawsuits against Riot Games from an ownership group. This would not be unprecedented in sports, in 2014 the LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the NBA, had all his ownership authority over the Clippers stripped and fined 2.5 million dollars after making several racist remarks. Sterling then proceeded to file a lawsuit against the NBA claiming the league was defrauding him and violated corporate law. The lawsuit was subsequently dropped a few weeks later and Sterling was forced to sell his team. While the pockets of the Renegades ownership group certainly don’t go as deep as billionaire Donald Sterling and a lawsuit would surely drain thousands of dollars, Christopher Mykles tweeted that he was “advised by counsel”, to wait to say more about the situation.
Information is in no way associated with Riot Games, but pulled directly from their release statement and various tweets.