Caught in a crossfire
My heart is sinking into my stomach as I type this...
I don't really know what is going on right now. It all feels so surreal, like I'm in a walking dream and I can't snap out of it. All I know is that I am caught in a crossfire that I have no involvement with yet my heart has bullet holes.
Am I 100% innocent, no. When I got suspended in July on Twitch and I wasn't able to work with ESEA either, I was desperate for money and I decided that I will use my extensive knowledge of MDL to bet and make just enough money to survive and not stress about finances, since I do prediction sheets for my subscribers anyway. I started betting on many different matches (MDL, random qualifiers, T1 matches). I KNEW THAT BETTING ON MDL WHILE WORKING FOR ESEA WAS WRONG, but under my circumstances, I didn't think it would be an issue. Obviously hindsight 20/20.
Anyways, I was minding my own business, shopping for groceries today with my girlfriend for our new place and I get a message from Boq. He asks if I'm free. I tell him I'm almost home, we can talk then. I'm thinking he's going to talk to me about the upcoming ESEA season or some other reason (like the FPL Community thing I did for 1 day before being told to shut it down).
I get home and I let Boq know. He tells me to get on Discord so I can get into a call. He calls me and there is Few, BBurns, and Boq. (At this point, I was like holy shit, FPL Community thing is that big of a deal?!)
They give me some quick intro then say let's cut to the chase. Then they ask me about my recent betting history on "Really Old People vs Vikings" and "ROP vs 462". Took me a couple seconds to even remember that bet since I started betting regularly once I got suspended from Twitch in July (unethical, maybe? but I technically wasn't working with production at the time since I was suspended was my thought). Then I remembered those games once I referenced my MDL prediction sheet I do every season for my subs.
I knew that ROP wasn't practicing and that Vikings was in absolute shambles at the time. Odds looked pretty good, so I bet on the game for ROP to win.
For ROP vs 462, 462 had turned their season around and with their recent pick ups were doing outstanding while at the same time I also knew ROP was absolutely trash on Dust2. Odds looked pretty good too, so I put a bet on that game also.
I came clean to Few, Burns, and Boq and admit that I did bet on several MDL matches and explained my logic. They started saying that my bets aligned with some suspicious betting behaviour that was going on and that some of the players on R.O.P. had bet on and against themselves.
AT THIS POINT, I'M FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. My heart is racing and I have no idea what the hell is going on.
Then they say that they don't want to bullshit me, and that the evidence is substantial and it ties me completely to this behaviour. They want me to come clean and admit to it. They said that my bets were placed "seconds" within the accused bets. I was so confused at this point. I was dumbfounded; at a loss of words. I had no idea what to say cause I know that the coindence looks so fucking awful that nothing I say will clear their suspicions.
I didn't only bet on MDL. I bet on everything where I knew all or most of the players in the server. Thinking back on it now, I can see how it's wrong but it really didn't feel wrong at the time. I also had NO IDEA about the Valve rules about gambling while working for production. I thought that rule only applied to players and TO (but ignorance is not plea, so I'll take a hit on that part).
ALSO, what benefit would they have to include me in their games/bets?
My bets for those games are the same as I usually bet on other matches. I literally made ~$150-200 off those bets. I didn't get rich or make a substantial amount of money by any means.
At this point, I'm trying to explain to them that I have no affiliation with alleged behaviour, but it seems like their minds were already set that I was guilty off the 2 bets that coincided(?). I asked for evidence. I keep asking for evidence cause even I myself don't believe it. I need to see something concrete. But they haven't provided me with anything. I genuinely don't believe this is happening to me.
After the conversation ended, the post was made public and I got an email saying I was banned from ESEA for 1 year for "gambling violations". They said my bets coincided with Effys' bets, a person I have not spoken to since our falling out with French Canadians ~3 seasons ago (???).
Obviously, I understand ESEA's decisions to cut ties with me and I hold no illwill towards them. I have nothing but respect for Brett, Burns, and Mark for taking the time to talk to me in private beforehand. They have to take measures to uphold the integrity of their brand, of the league, and of the scene as a whole.
I am sorry to everyone that I hurt with my actions. I would never dilute the integrity of a league I have spent the last 2 years of my life devoted to. This is all a giant misunderstanding and hope it clears up soon.
Not sure what the next course of action is. I still haven't really digested all of this.
Thank you to everyone who has shown support even in this very grim situation. It means so much <3.