Evil Geniuses AD carry Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki has stepped down from the team’s starting roster, just days ahead of a massive series against 100 Thieves in the 2022 LCS Summer Playoffs.
The news was broken by EG CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson in an announcement on Twitter, confirming that the player “will not be competing at this weekend’s LCS Summer Split Finals in Chicago.” She went on to credit Danny’s “courage and self-awareness to recognize when the right time is to step away,” suggesting that the decision ultimately came from the bot laner himself.
Evil Geniuses’ academy bot laner Muhammed Hasan “Kaori” Şentürk is expected to take Danny’s place in the lineup as the team looks to retain its LCS title from the spring. Danny walking away likely undermines those chances.
The team faces 100 Thieves in a best-of-five series for a spot in the grand finals against Cloud9. Moving on to the finals and winning would secure Evil Geniuses a spot in Worlds 2022 and a direct qualification to the group stage.
All signs point to Danny making a return to Evil Geniuses at some point in the future.
With Danny still under contract until 2024, there’s little indication that the change is anything other than temporary, with LaPointe adding that the organization will “continue to support” the player. She also notes that the team will “look forward to welcoming him back when he’s ready.”
Towards the end of her statement, EG’s CEO calls for fans to show Danny “nothing but unwavering support and the empathy he deserves” while adding “that players are humans too.” This comes ahead of likely speculation as to the reason for his stepping down, however LaPointe stresses to fans to remember that the players “dedicate their lives to this game, with the weight of the world on their shoulders, for our entertainment.”