| 17. November 2020

OpTic Scump Talks CDL Player Union, Recent Issues

The Call of Duty League has no shortage of problems, according to Seth “Scump” Abner of the Chicago OpTic. Granted, we’ve known some of these issues for months, but having them explained (and highlighted) firsthand by a veteran player like Scump definitely makes it a bitter pill to swallow. If it’s an esport with Activision/Blizzard’s logo on it, odds are, it’s struggling in one way or another.

According to OpTic Scump, the CDL has been pressuring both him and other players in the most strangest of ways. First of all, he’s received a fine for doing a sponsored stream during the CDL off-season. No, that wasn’t a typo — he’s getting fined for streaming something other than Call of Duty during a moment when no CoD is being played. Plus, the game in question was Raid Shadow Legends which in no way competes with competitive Call of Duty, a long-standing and universally acclaimed IP that is without equal. Sure, there’s Battlefield, but the two aren’t exactly competitors in the esports space.

To make this whole thing even more baffling, Scump streamed the game on his own channel, something that is well within his rights. But apparently, for some odd reason, he’s supposed to adhere to a non-existing (an illogical) set of rules laid down by the CDL.

Shady Legal Matters

But one could argue that that isn’t even the biggest issue. What is, however, is the shady business practices CDL supposedly employed a while back. According to Scump, the CDL made numerous players sign a contract in front of them without running it by their lawyers. That is the definition of shady and unethical. The sheer fact that such a thing can happen at this level is simply baffling and infuriating. The situation was also of the “sign or you can’t play” variety, which only makes things worse. Why the CDL would strongarm its biggest and most beloved players is anyone’s guess at this point.

Fortunately, it seems as though a CDL players union is on the horizon, with Scump becoming a part of it as well. Players huddling up is obviously the right move, especially given the way Activision has been handling things. We can only hope that this will actually amount to something. Esports is still pretty darn infantile, and unions don’t mean much if these matters aren’t handled correctly. Still, with a good number of CDL players being seasoned veterans, there’s a cause for optimism.

Closing Remarks

Scump is, without a doubt, the poster child of the CDL. He’s representing one of the most storied and respected organizations in the field and is an ambassador for competitive CoD. If he’s struggling this much with the way Activision Blizzard is handling things, we can only imagine how much worse others have it.

And the thing is, none of this makes sense. The CDL did admirably well, given the circumstances (COVID-19 and all). That’s primarily because of its players and their talent. Of course, the fact that most orgs create killer content helped out immensely as well. The CDL owes so much to the very people they’re now wronging. This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but it definitely is within Activision’s M.O. Heck, maybe that’s even an understatement.

All in all, this is not a good look for the Call of Duty League. They’ve yet to respond in an official way to any of these accusations, and if history is any indication, they probably won’t until there’s any huge public outcry. Hopefully things will change for the better come 2021.