Toronto Defiant VP of Global Content and Communications Paulo Senra says that the team will "continue to engage in unique and compelling content opportunities.
Last weekend, Toronto Defiant's Andreas "Logix" Berghmans was quoted on stream stating that the Defiant was unable to practice prior to an important match against the Philadelphia Fusion due to several players participating in a media event in Toronto. The decision to send these players to Toronto allegedly came from the team’s upper management. Berghmans said that he was "pretty depressed" after the team's loss to the Philadelphia Fusion on Sunday, a loss that effectively eliminated the Toronto Defiant from playoff contention.
Logix Reveals Missed Defiant Scrims
According to Berghmans, two of Defiant’s starting players, tank Daniel “Gods” Graeser and support Jaeyoon “Aid” Go, along with substitute Jin-ui “im37” Hong, traveled from California to Toronto after their victory over the Shanghai Dragons on Thursday. There, they would participate in a media event which included a meet-and-greet with fans as well as a meet-up with prominent Canadian athletes such as Leylah Fernandez and Genie Bouchard.
While ESTNN can not confirm when the three players returned to Los Angeles, Berghmans stated on a Twitch stream that the Defiant was unable to play any scrims prior to their loss due to the absence of both Graeser and Go. The VOD of this stream has since been deleted, though Upcomer did manage to catch the player’s response to a chat question about the loss to Philadelphia.
"How I'm feeling after the game today? Pretty depressed.... [We] basically didn't have a chance to practice before [the] Shanghai game... The organization wanted us to do media in a different country, so two of our six players of our main roster had to go. So we didn't play a single scrim."
Unfortunately, it seems as though Toronto's decision to remove two starters during a playoff push to fulfill a media obligation may have resulted in a playoff-eliminating loss for the Defiant. Additionally, Toronto's decision to have both Graeser and Hong attend the event despite a playoff opportunity raises key questions concerning the competitive integrity of the Overwatch League, especially when the removal of said players interferes with a team's ability to compete.
Paulo Senra, Toronto Defiant's VP of Global Content and Communications, responded to ESTNN's questions regarding the possible effects the incident could have had on both the competitive integrity of the Overwatch League and the players themselves with the following:
“We had the rare opportunity to film content with top, globally-recognized WTA athletes this past Saturday, including one of Canada’s most-recognized athletes, Genie Bouchard. We also held a meet and greet for approximately 200 fans, as we continue to ramp up our engagement with our local market and promote our players to fans in Toronto and across Canada. The evolution of our League will see teams host home games next season, so we were happy to put our players next to global superstars in order to tell their stories and to introduce Overwatch to an audience of millions on social media. As we work to build out a passionate fan base, we’ll continue to engage in unique and compelling content opportunities.”
Image VIA: Stewert Volland for Blizzard Entertainment