Immortals CEO: "Major is not worth more than what we stand for"
Immortals CEO Noah Whinston has commented on Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe's release and shed some light on what the future holds for the organisation's Counter-Strike team.
Immortals' team have been left in disarray after Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe was released from his contract, and twin brothers Henrique "HEN1" Teles and Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles requested to be moved to the bench.
During the Summer, the trio had already expressed their wish to leave for pastures new, but the team's issues reached a new level at DreamHack Montreal, where Immortals forfeited a map in the final after arriving late at the venue, and kNgV- publicly threatened Pujan "FNS" Mehta over a joke made by the CLG member about him and the twins being hungover on the final day of the event.
In a video posted on Immortals' Youtube, Mr. Whinston admits that, following kNgV-'s remarks, he "wanted to cut kNgV- from the team" immediately, but the other players, as well as coach Rafael "zakk" Fernandes, convinced him to give the 22-year-old "a second chance" and "the opportunity to apologise, reform and rehabilitate himself" and to "continue playing on the Immortals CS:GO roster".
"Originally, we had set a call with kNg for the night of Monday, the 18th, the day before the online match against CLG, in the EPICENTER qualifier" he noted.
"kNg, for some reason, was not able to make that call, so until we were able to connect directly with him and discuss the situation, I let zakk tell the players that kNg was not permitted to play until we had figured out the game plan for how he would be proceeding with the Immortals organisation."
With zakk as a stand-in, Immortals lost the first map of the best-of-three series against CLG. kNgV- came on after that, helping the team to turn the series around, with Mr. Whinston posting on Twitter after the match that the player been under "internal suspension" and "was not authorised" to play for Immortals.
"HEN1 and LUCAS1 refused to continue to play the match unless kNg was allowed to play," he reveals.
"kNg playing was a direct violation of the punishment that we had communicated to him and the players less than a day earlier.
"For violating that punishment, kNg was immediately terminated from his contract and is not part of Immortals and will never again be part of Immortals."
Following kNgV-'s release, Mr. Whinston adds, both HEN1 and LUCAS1 "made it very clear that they would not be willing to continue playing for the organisation", which made Immortals place the twin brothers "on indefinite suspension on the bench", where they will stay until "an organisation wants to buy them out of their contracts or until they change their minds and decide to play on the starting roster" once again.
"I was not left with many options if we wanted to preserve the philosophies and the ideals that Immortals as a brand stands for," the Immortals CEO explains. "At its core, this disagreement between the players and the organisation can be boiled down to a difference in philosophy.
"For HEN1, for LUCAS1 and for kNg, winning is everything, and anything done in pursuit of winning is justifiable. But for the Immortals organisation, winning is just one piece of a much more important and broader puzzle.
"It is less about the end result and it is more about the process, the inputs that go into winning: the hard work, the dedication, the sacrifice and the discipline that create champions, not the championship itself.
"Unfortunately, this difference in philosophy is largely unresolvable. Players with skill, ingame communication and great tactical play are fantastic, but having all of those things does not make you a professional player. It just makes you a talented player."
Mr. Whinston lauded the remaining team members, Ricardo "boltz" Prass and Lucas "steel" Lopes, whom he described as the "pinnacle of professional players", and added that Immortals are "looking forward to rebuilding" the team around them - even if at the cost of a Major spot as they have been left with just 2/5 of the lineup that placed second at PGL Major Krakow.
"Playing at a Major is not worth more than everything we stand for as an organisation, and we cannot let ourselves be held hostage by players who just are not aligned with our goals as a team, simply in pursuit of having an auto-qualification," the Immortals chief added.
"We qualified for a Major the hard way once. And, if we build our team right, we will do it again."
The Immortals CEO also commented on the events that transpired on the final day of DreamHack Montreal and revealed the punishment that was given to the three players who arrived late to the final and caused the team to forfeit a map.
HEN1, LUCAS1 and kNgV- have all been fined a month's salary by Immortals and lose the right to their share of the $20,000 that Immortals won from placing second at DreamHack Montreal. That raised sum, combined with the North American organisation's 10% cut of the prize money, will be donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal charity.
"Ultimately, the reason why they were late does not really matter," he noted. "At the end of the day, tardiness is tardiness, and, personally, it does not matter to me whether they were out partying or they were jet lagged and overslept.
"They were late to the final, we had to forfeit a map, and that created not just a negative image for the players and for the organisation, but a negative experience for the fans who had spent their time and money to attend that match, expecting to see a full best-of-three."
Immortals' roster currently looks as follows:
Rafael "zakk" Fernandes (coach)