Riot OCE responds to Tainted Minds controversy

by Daniel Rosen Mar 16
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / Tainted Minds

Riot Games Oceania has issued a response to the ongoing contract dispute between Tainted Minds and several of their former League of Legends players.

Riot alleges that they have been working with both Tainted Minds and the players to find a resolution to their conflicts since becoming aware of the dispute, and set up mediation between the two parties. However, Riot says that they do not oversee the living conditions specifically brought up as one of the things Tainted Minds failed to supply, as that's related to the organization's contract with the players, not Riot's contract with the organization.

The team's former coach Nick "Inero" Smith has alleged in the past that Tainted Minds provided insufficient living conditions, including poor internet, intermittent electricity and only one garbage can for an entire team house, among other things.

Inero has since settled his contract dispute with Tainted Minds, and declined to comment on Riot's response given that he is no longer in dispute with the organization.

Riot also alleges that they became aware of Tainted Minds late payments on March 7, and Tainted Minds informed them on March 16 that all players have now been paid their Riot stipend. Inero's allegations were first published by PVP Live on Feb. 22, though he did not mention lack of pay in his initial allegations.

Finally, Riot responded to allegations that they doctored the player database to make it look like they removed players from Tainted Minds' roster without changing the "last updated on" date at the top of the contract database. Tainted Minds had 13 players on the database, three more than Riot permits, which Riot allowed to give "those involved in the dispute time to reach a resolution" and to ensure that Tainted Minds could field a team that week.

Following the games, Tainted Minds removed three players from the contract databse, which Riot claims did not properly display the new "last updated on" date because of a problem with Riot's database tool. Allegedly, Riot's database tool does not register removing an entire row from a spreadsheet as an update, the way it would for removing an individual cell.

"We weren’t as proactive with our communication as we should have been," Riot stated. "In honesty, the fact it quickly became a legal matter between the parties meant that we felt that it would be inappropriate to comment on while discussions were ongoing. That said, the last minute week 5 roster swap and existing players announcing free agency on Twitter didn’t feel good. In hindsight, we could’ve at least acknowledged the dispute earlier to preface some of what happened next."

Former Tainted Minds player Tristan "Cake" Côté-Lalumière posted a Twitlonger in which he stated that Riot knew about the dispute prior to March 7. According to screenshots Cake alleges are of emails between Inero and Riot, Riot was first contracted on Jan. 11. Additionally, Cake alleged that Ryan "Shorterace" Nget did tell Riot he was not paid his Riot stipend prior to March 7, but did not provide screenshots to support this allegation.

With files from Sasha Erfanian.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.