One of the biggest and most reputable sports organizations has been repeatedly accused of failing to care for one of their most promising players. Evil Geniuses leads players in professional gaming competitions for CS:GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Dota 2 and various fighting games, among many others, but it’s in League of Legends where sources say one of its brightest stars has suffered a shortage has the support.
The report comes from Dexerto, who heard from “multiple sources” within Evil Geniuses, who remained unnamed for fear of retaliation from the organization. They allege that League of Legends prodigy Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki repeatedly suffered from a lack of care, which contributed to the player’s struggles with mental health and physical well-being.
18-year-old Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki regularly wowed crowds and peers with his stunning plays and was particularly notable for his performance in last April’s LSC Spring Playoffs, where the ADC player received three MVP awards. However, just a few months later, during the 2022 Summer Tournament, the Evil Geniuses team performed poorly, losing most of their matches and suffering poor results against TSM and Cloud 9, while many of Danny’s underperforming were confused and unusually poor plays.
In September, Evil Geniuses announced that Danny was taking time off due to mental health issues. But it was claimed that Danny’s problems were ongoing and that management had failed to take care of him, leaving the player’s mental and physical well-being declining. This went so far that when Danny returned to his family home, he was sent to see a doctor for malnutrition. Sources who spoke to Dexerto claimed that various Evil Geniuses employees and players had raised concerns about Danny’s health and that it was serious enough that the LCS Players Association was contacted about the issue.
Looking back, there were public signs that Danny may have suffered from stress and burnout. Following the conclusion of the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational taking place in May, Danny tweeted, “Because he’s played 5 straight months of competitive League of Legends with scrims, riot features, official games, lock-in, LSC regular season, playoffs and Houston- Finals , MSI, Group Stage, Rumble Stage, Semifinals and erryone (sic) hates you.. would really like to take a little break”.
According to the sources, Evil Geniuses had initially provided support and care for an existing condition that means Danny is more prone to stress, something the esports organization was aware of when they signed him. “Initially, the organization was aware of his condition and did what they could to support him,” a source told Dexerto. “A lot of his problems were made worse by stress, so they even hired a trainer specifically to work with him, for example.”
However, the source claimed that as time went on management “seemed less and less interested in helping him deal with the pressure” and that Evil Geniuses simply hoped the problem would be fixed, despite warnings from players and coaches would disappear. Danny’s health continued to deteriorate. The League player would ultimately choose to take some time off, but issues were only resolved after Evil Geniuses CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson spoke directly to Danny, it is said.
A few months ago, Jameson indirectly addressed allegations against Danny with a video statement shared on Twitter. In it, the CEO claimed that Evil Geniuses cares deeply about its athletes and that she can’t say much due to “legal employment restrictions.” Meanwhile, esports journalist Thorin released a YouTube video earlier this week making similar allegations against Evil Geniuses.
However, Danny would make a statement on the reports and called on Tuesday that “the allegations against EG are not correct”. He continued, “The truth is that the pressures of being an eSports pro have gotten me to the breaking point, and EG has supported me the whole way.” Danny also announced that he is now an official member of EG’s Creator Collective will create content on Twitch full-time.
While it’s good that Danny got a much-needed break and made a smooth transition, the allegations will raise concerns about the stress and workload of esports competitors and whether they’re getting enough support and care from their management. Evil Geniuses has yet to respond to the new allegations from Dexerto’s sources.
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