League of Legends: Riot Drops the Hammer on TSM Bjergsen
While everyone on TSM is happy to have Bjergsen joining them this season, Riot has taken an issue with how he conducted himself just before he left Europe to come to America. The arrangement between TSM and Bjergsen's former team, Ninjas in Pyjamas, required Bjergsen to talk to potential replacements for him on NiP's behalf before he left. Below is the full summary of the incident, including the offense, by Riot's own Nick Allen.
League of Legends Competition Ruling
Player: Søren Bjerg / Bjergsen
Region: North America
Date of Ruling: January 23rd, 2014
Subject: Fine; Violations of LCS Rules
In late October, Team SoloMid Ownership approached Ninjas in Pyjamas Ownership regarding signing Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. NiP Ownership granted TSM Ownership permission to speak to Bjergsen directly about the possibility of acquisition. TSM and NiP negotiated a transfer agreement that resulted in Bjergsen joining TSM. During this negotiation, NiP Ownership informed Bjergsen that one of the conditions for his transfer was that he must find a player to fill one of the multiple holes in their roster.
Bjergsen then directly approached another professional player on a different LCS team, Lemondogs, without consulting the team’s manager. He offered this player a significant sum of money to leave his team/contract and to join NiP. The Lemondogs player was interested in the offer, and informed his team of his desire to leave, which eventually resulted in he and two other additional teammates leaving the organization and going to NiP.
The "culprit" of poaching.
His actions put him in direct violation in Riot's anti-poaching rule between LCS teams. Directly soliciting a player to leave his old team for a large cash sum is not fair play in Riot's book. Accordingly, they have fined Bjergsen $2,000 for his actions. TSM itself is not involved or penalized in any way for how he conducted himself.
Riot has not done enough to punish this behavior.
The amount of money that Riot has penalized Bjergsen, in all honesty, is insubstantial if they truly want to discourage the kind of behavior that he has displayed. While I don't think he should be removed from the LCS or anything that serious, I feel like Riot has really missed a key chance to prove that they truly want people to act in a professional matter in their LCS. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but if you want people to be afraid of breaking your rules, you need to do a bit more than slapping them on their wrists. At the end of the day, it's Riot's decision, and I don't fault them for not suspending him from games. He may have approached the situation wrongly, but as far as the evidence shows his actions had no intention of contempt or ill-will.