| 27. November 2021

LoL – Nongshim RedForce involved in some offseason issues

After a promising first season in the LCK, Nongshim RedForce get involved in some issues over the course of the offseason so far. Nongshim RedForce came into the LCK following getting accepted into the franchised league, bringing in some of the former players from the old Team Dynamics roster. They then brought in jungle superstar Han “Peanut” Wang-ho and former Gen G substitute support Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu.

They had a rather middling spring season, finishing in quarterfinals against Hanwha Life Esports 2-3. In the summer they replaced Park “Bay” Jun-byeong with Kim “Gori” Tae-woo, and they were propelled into higher highs– they finished in semifinals, where they got swept 3-0 by a surging Damwon Kia. in the regional qualifier, they got knocked out by Hanwha Life Esports. Despite not getting to worlds, their season was still a success and they were able to think about parts of their roster that would be great to build upon.

NS kicked everyone out

They did not “build upon” anything though. They let go of all of the people in their roster except Peanut, who was traded to Gen G for Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong. Even those whose contracts were not supposed to end yet have been terminated. This is what happened to Lee “Rich” Jae-won. Suddenly he was released, and since he has not started any talks before the time of his release, and that he was released relatively later into the offseason, it is very likely that he will not be getting a new team for the 2022 season.

Nongshim RedForce also tweeted that there were attempts of tampering towards their players. This means that people from other organizations have been in talks with their contracted members without the LCK’s and/or the Nongshim organization’s permission. They called the LCK to action, but as of writing, nothing has come of this yet.

Recently, Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun posted on Facebook, giving a rather distressing update to his fans. It says that while he was contracted to Damwon Kia until the end of the 2022 season, he was under negotiations with another team and that he was set to be transferred there. He then says that he and Damwon Kia were deceived. This was responded to by a post by Oh Ji-hwan, president and CEO of Nongshim.

This says that they indeed contacted the director of DWG Kia about possibilities of a transfer, while also offering a possible salary on Ghost’s part. He said that there were difficulties matching Ghost’s desired salary, and the NS CEO offered to add clauses to the contract, and contacted Ghost personally.

He claims a miscommunication has happened and the deception allegations on Damwon and Ghost’s part are both unfounded. In addition, they have expressed a desire to apologize and thank the players that they have parted ways with, seemingly addressing the issues around Rich’s termination as well.

Players protested

Damwon Kia also came up with their own statement. Initially, they did not want to respond to controversy, but realized they had to make a public action for the sake of its players. Damwon claims that after the transfer had been agreed upon, Nongshim contacted Ghost personally and that they offered half of the originally agreed-upon salary.

Damwon and Ghost protested against this change, and NS claimed they had financial issues. Damwon Kia claims that if such an issue was present in the first place, then they should not have tried negotiating with Ghost in the first place. Damwon Kia ends their statement claiming that they possess evidence to prove their claims, and that if the Nongshim organization continues to lie, they would reveal all of the evidence that they hold.

A few days later, Damwon Kia and Nongshim RedForce released a joint statement claiming to have met and discussed the issues about Ghost’s transfer. NS apologized for the communication issue, and they have apologized for the emotional distress that they have caused to the bottom laner. An apology was issued to the fans of the league, and resolved to foster a more collaborative environment for the future.