Fans are angry with Faker benching, T1 issues new statement

By Steven Rondina

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Aug 10, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

Some fans of T1 have been blasting the organization its handling of star mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Others have taken things a step further.

T1 CEO Joe Marsh issued a public statement discussing harassment and even threats of violence that the team has faced in recent weeks. To address this, Marsh called for calm while also threatening to send lawyers after those individuals who go too far with their words and criticisms.

“We can no longer remain silent regarding the rise in online harassment and violent threats directed at our team. T1 does not tolerate harassment of any form between players, coaches, employees, League officials, or fans…recent incidents have threatened our team’s health and safety, the statement reads.

Marsh stated that the organization will “explore legal action” against those who use hate speech or threats of violence against its players. Though specific incidents with fans weren’t discussed, it’s understandable that the organization chose to take special actions after the last few weeks of fan outcry.

Catch up on this story:

Benching of Faker sparks backlash against T1

In week eight, T1 substituted in Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon for Faker at the mid lane position for matches versus SeolHaeOne Prince and Team Dynamics. Clozer had also found himself starting with the team over Faker in against Sandbox Gaming and KT Rolster.

Clozer did his part and helped T1 post 2-0 sweeps in its eighth week of play to seal a top-four finish in the split, advancing the team’s record to 11-4 and locking up a spot in the playoffs. Though Clozer certainly didn’t achieve this alone, T1 has a perfect record while starting Clozer this split.

Despite that success, fans of Faker vented their frustration over the move. Critics brought forward a number of arguments ranging from it being disrespectful to the legendary player, to saying that bot lane prospect Lee “Gumayushi” Min-hyeong ought to be the chosen substitute instead of Clozer.

Matters weren’t helped when T1 cracked wise about the move on Twitter, infuriating fans of Faker even further:

The end result was an avalanche of verbal abuse that clearly grated on the players to the point that the organization chose to threaten legal action.

Ultimately, the only thing that determines whether T1 is right to sub in Clozer over Faker is whether the team wins more games as a result. If the team keeps winning, it’s hard to argue against T1 situationally swapping players in the mid lane. Even if it upsets Faker’s legions of fans.

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