Sentinels has confirmed a change to its pro Valorant roster, and it doesn’t include controversial star player Jay “sinatraa” Won.
Though many were expecting the streamer to return to the Sentinels roster after controversially announcing that he was looking for a new pro team at the conclusion of his previous suspension, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, the Sentinels organization has confirmed the signing of Eric “Kanpeki” Xu as the replacement for the outgoing Jared “zombs” Gitlin. Sentinels announced the recruitment of Kanpeki through Twitter.
Kanpeki joins following a transfer from Akrew, a North American team that has enjoyed success in the tier-three scene. The team’s biggest achievement was placing top-four in the Nerd Street Gamers Winter Championship. Akrew has not yet announced a replacement for Kanpeki.
sinatraa and zombs both remain a part of the Sentinels organization. zombs is likely to move into a streaming role with the organization ahead of a transfer, though nothing has yet been confirmed.
Will sinatraa return to Sentinels?
The signing of Kanpeki suggests that sinatraa will not be returning to the Sentinels Valorant roster.
Shortly after sinatraa announced his intent to return to competition, he indicated that his goal was to return to playing Valorant at the pro level for Sentinels. zombs’ benching seemingly opened the door for sinatraa’s return. Evidently, that wasn’t the plan for the organization. This leaves sinatraa’s future in Valorant esports uncertain.
sinatraa is returning after a layoff stemming from a suspension handed down by Riot Games in 2021. The former Overwatch League champion was accused by his ex-girlfriend of sexual assault, psychological abuse, and intimidation during their relationship. Sentinels temporarily suspended sinatraa while Riot Games launched an investigation into the matter.
Included in the allegations was an audio clip allegedly recorded during a sexual encounter between the two, where the accuser can be heard saying “no” and sinatraa can be heard saying he’s “close.” sinatraa confirmed the authenticity of the clip while also denying that he committed sexual assault.
He suggested the clip was taken out of context and that he would produce a larger version for Riot Games’ investigation, but this never happen. sinatraa’s lack of cooperation with Riot’s investigation resulted in him receiving a six-month suspension from competition from Riot Games.
Despite the suspension, sinatraa remained a sponsored streamer for Sentinels and is a part of the esports organization to this day.
Tyson “TenZ” Ngo was acquired by Sentinels following sinatraa’s suspension to replace him and has performed well in that role, helping the team win a major championship at VCT 2021: Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík. sinatraa rejoining Sentinels would have required a shuffling of roles, something Sentinels’ players may not have been comfortable with. It’s also possible Sentinels pulled back on plans to bring back sinatraa after a public pushback against his potential return.
Whether it’s Sentinels or another organization, anyone interested in sinatraa will have to weigh sinatraa’s potential in-game performance and fan following against the likely PR hit from such a signing. Add to that what may still be a sizable transfer fee, and many teams may look elsewhere.