Griffin announced yesterday that they are in the process of terminating all of their existing player contracts.
According to a Facebook post, the organization stated that “contract termination and other options” are being discussed with the players. So far, nothing is final, and the team will notify their fans and followers as soon as something is decided.
“We are deeply sorry and thankful to the fans who have supported Griffin throughout the years. We will come back as a new Griffin. Thank you,” they told fans.
This move, while dramatic, comes as no surprise to the League of Legends community. Once considered one of the best and brightest teams in Korea, Griffin placed last in the 2020 LCK Spring Split, finishing with a 4-13 record. The team was relegated from the LCK after losing back-to-back matches in the summer promotion tournament, first to Korea Challenger team Seorabeol and then to Sandbox Gaming. As a result, they weren’t going to be playing in the LCK Summer Split.
One big reason that Griffin seemed to stuggle in the Spring Split was the loss of mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon. He was known for carrying the team. But Griffin had even more roster changes before the 2020 season. They also lost Son “Lehends” Si-woo and Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon. The organization had dissolved their contract after it was revealed that they were forcing players to sign unfair contracts.
“Still8 and Team Griffin recently made unfair contracts with their players and have been vulnerable to abuse of their ability to violate their rights and to exercise unfair power,” the organization said at the time.
The organization also underwent a lot of structural changes before the Spring Split, losing their long-time coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho after some former players accused him of abuse. While some fans and players have defended his coaching style, disagreements between cvMax and the Griffin organization created much turmoil. The constant change in coaches and players on the roster most likely left the team feeling unstable going into 2020.
Griffin’s recent announcement could lead to Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon, and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon becoming free agents before the next season. Even though the team did poorly this year, these are three veteran players whose contracts could be very desirable for teams both locally and abroad.
On Griffin’s end, the organization will need an entirely new League of Legends roster to rejoin the LCK in the future.