Huma and what we can learn
I am actually going to start this off by breaking one of my ground rules in eSports: to never participate in any PR drama. Some of you guys who have been following me for a while now will know that even back when the Copenhagen Wolves stuff got public and all of my accounts were hacked, I never made a public statement apart from my apology on Reddit, the day my Social Media was taken over. I had myself to blame and was part of the reason the situation was that bad, so I was fine to just silently take over responsibility for everything, even though this is far from the truth. Everything that I could have added would’ve only created additional drama and at the end of the day, this was not worth it for anyone involved.
This time however, I just feel like adding my point of view might be beneficial to understand the whole situation. Despite not having a contract or salary while working for Huma in my fourth, and as it seems last month now, I probably would’ve just let everything happen and not say or write anything, if it wasn’t for the unprofessional behaviour of Behdad the last couple of days. Right now I haven’t even been fired… in fact, I probably don’t even have to be fired since I was never hired? At this point, I don’t even know.
There’s a lot of stuff in the DailyDot article and in the statements made by my staff members Kubz and Jon. I’m sure all of you have a good idea of what the players and coaching staff have had to go through recently, so there’s no real need for me to repeat it and whatever may happen, keep in mind that those statements were written in a VERY emotional state. This doesn’t make them less true, but the tone is arguably not the very best. They did an amazing job as the support staff of this team and at this point I would like to thank them for the passion and hard work they put into this team and project while blindly trusting my word that „everything is going to be fine at some point guys“ – I let you down and it’s a shame we are in this situation right now.
What I do want to say however is the following and maybe the little attention this will get might help the industry in the future.
Staff members, while not getting the attention of the players, are part of this industry as well and a lot of the guys in charge simply don’t understand that we are not some teenagers fooling around in our free time besides school, but actually make a living out of this. Whether it be full time analysts, coaches or managers, we spend hours of hours of hours and put our heart and soul into making teams work and perform. For me, Huma was more than a 40h/week job and I know about the hours my coaching staff put into this because I was THERE seeing the impact they made.
In over a year of full time eSports, I have NEVER at any point signed a contract with an organisation. I did sign an agreement with Riot for the Head Coach position in my time with the Copenhagen Wolves, but never actually signed anything with CW. With Huma, this wasn’t different. Although being put in charge of the organization I never really knew what my tasks and responsibilities are, what my authorities were and how far I could go since there never was a piece of paper telling me this. Needless to say I ended up doing everything, including tasks like negotiating the selling of the whole team to Complexity and “hiring” or recruiting staff. Certainly something you would not let a random person on the internet do for your team as the owner. In fact, after 4 months of working, I was told today „You’re not contracted, get out of this call“ – as if this was news to me.
At this point let me say that there are good guys out there in eSports, Jason Bass and Jason Lake are fantastic and it was a pleasure talking to you about how an organization should be run – I would have loved to take this talented roster to Complexity and kick some ass together.
With Behdad however, despite telling him several times, it always felt like he sees this venture as some kind of joke and doesn’t see the need to pay or contract us. Staff members working for free was a legit argument for Huma to keep people around and this is not a corner case in eSports. Yes, you have to pay your dues in eSports and yes, volunteer work is common and many if not all of us got into the scene by working our asses of for free and struggling to pay the bills, but if you are proven and working hard on a FULL TIME basis for any organisation for a couple of months, you NEED to get properly compensated. eSports has evolved, we have millions of dollars flying around and getting put into the players, infrastructure and development, we’re at a point where we have to take staff members seriously! We try to attract main stream media and non-endemics to partner up with our industry, how the hell can we expect them to take us seriously if we don’t even do that ourselves? To give you some numbers, for my coaching staff, 500-1000 USD a month would’ve been enough to keep their lives running and if I would have that money I would have hired and paid them myself. That amount of money is a joke compared to what is given out and invested. I am at this point very sorry, especially for my analyst, for even bringing them in, since he will struggle to pay his rent this month, a problem I myself am familiar with.
At the end of the day, it’s up to the industry leaders and in this case especially Riot – if there are people coaching, managing, coordinating things for an organization, it should be a requirement for the person in charge to have those members contracted. The On Stage Coach for LCS events was one huge step and contracting and paying them is brilliant, but from my own experience... I mean, Riot was investigating the Copenhagen Wolves and fined them for missing player contracts, yet no one even asked me, the Head Coach who jumps around on stage, if I ever signed an agreement.
Yes, the protection of the players is most important and Riot is doing a great job at doing so, but there are people BEHIND the scenes, behind the players – important people to keep this industry running and we need protection as well.
For the three of us, former Head Coach Kubz, former Analyst Kamikazplatypus and myself, the people that actually kept Huma running with our amazing players, our journey ended. We are not contracted and 4 months of hard work come to an end with frustration and questions – we came
far boys and I’m proud of you.