Riot Games Korea has reversed its disciplinary stance against former Griffin head coach Kim “cxMax” Dae-ho following public outcry, a report by ESPN has detailed.
The report by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf and Ashley Kang revealed that Riot Games Korea will postpone cvMax’s indefinite suspension in the face of public criticism, which included an online petition with more than 200,000 signatures calling for government involvement.
The League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) steering committee consisting of Riot Games’ South Korean and Chinese branches, and the Korea Esports Association (KeSPA), served indefinite suspensions to cvMax and former Griffin director Cho Gyu-nam on November 21 following an investigation.
The competitive ruling declared that Cho threatened 18-year-old player Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok and pressured him to sign a five-year contract with another team that would ultimately result in a ₩1 billion ($848,252 USD) buyout paid to Griffin.
CvMax was also handed an indefinite suspension after it was ruled that he had engaged in physical and verbal abuse against players. The investigation commenced after comments that cvMax made during a livestream in which he alleged that Cho had unfairly influenced Kanavi to sign a contract with JD Gaming.
CvMax’s indefinite suspension was the topic of widespread criticism as LCK fans and even politicians shared their frustrations with the outcome. South Korean politician Ha Tae-kyung was particularly outspoken regarding the matter and also suggested that Riot Korea could face substantial consequences.
“This clearly is a revenge toward the whistleblower,” Ha Tae-kyung stated.
“Riot can be punished for this under the “Whistleblower Protection Bill” and can receive up to 3 years of jail time. If it wasn’t for cVmax’s courageous act, Kanavi’s slavery contract would have gone unnoticed. cVmax is someone who should be protected and praised, not punished.”
Riot Korea has responded to the criticism by postponing the suspension of cvMax. In an update released on Wednesday, Riot shared that a third-party organization will now handle an investigation to assess the allegations of verbal and physical abuse by cvMax toward Griffin players.
“The committee accepts that it has not earned the trust of the players on the fairness on the penalty that was applied to [cvMax],” Riot stated to ESPN.
“Hence, we have decided to postpone the penalty that was previously issued on cvMax. Also, the committee will commission a new investigation to a trustworthy external party including the law enforcement.”