Riot Issues a Competitive Ruling on the TSM CEO Andy Dinh

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Riot Issues a Competitive Ruling on the TSM CEO Andy Dinh

Riot’s over six months long investigation is finally over with them announcing their findings.

The second and final investigation into TSM and the actions of the organization’s CEO Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh is finally over. This whole saga started over seven months ago, back in November 2021, when an ex-TSM player Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng went on a rant during one of his streams about his frustrations with the time he spent on TSM and his interactions with Reginald.

While he talked about multiple subjects, people mostly hung on to his words about Reginald and the culture he created around his team, which was rumored to be very toxic and abusive. Doublelift claimed Regi regularly bullied or berated his players and staff to the point of them getting publicly humiliated which caused them mental problems, and even in some cases mental breakdowns.

When these accusations went viral on Twitter and Reddit, people started demanding action from Riot. With other individuals contacting NA LCS Players Association about similar accusations, LCS or more accurately the North America League of Legends Championship Series, LLC decided to retain an outside counsel to start an investigation into Dinh and TSM, while the latter simultaneously started their own investigation.

TSM’s investigation

The first investigation to end was the TSM’s own internal one. Even though the organization’s Board of Directors also went with an outside counsel, the way the results of the process were announced did not sit well with the fans.

On May 27, Dinh himself announced the investigation was over and he was found “innocent,” but he did it in a Twitlonger. Not only fans did not enjoy Dinh informing the public about an investigation into himself, but it was also thought a Twitlonger was not a professional enough setting to use in such a manner.

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Still, there was an investigation summary made available and it said the counsel made thorough efforts to interview the TSM staff, and in the end, find no unlawful conduct from Dinh. But, bullying and being abusive not necessarily meant “unlawful conduct.” The internal investigation report recommended some corrective actions like:

  • Mandatory executive coaching for Dinh and voluntary executive coaching for other executives;
  • Leadership training and culture building training; and
  • An anonymous reporting hotline so that employees can lodge complaints about any executive outside of the normal chain of command and without fear of retaliation.

LCS investigation

LCS’ own investigation also started in 2021 to see if Dinh was in breach of The Team Participation Agreement (TPA) or the Official Rules of the LCS. The scope of the investigation, according to LCS, was:

  • How serious and pervasive were the actions underlying the reports of Dinh’s treatment of, and behaviors towards, TSM players and staff?
  • Did Dinh make disparaging or harassing comments related to the race, national origin, sexual orientation or any other protected class of any individual or group, or take actions or make comments that would create an inference that Dinh discriminated against, sexually harassed or unlawfully harassed anyone connected with TSM?
  • Were there credible reports of other actions by Dinh, including physical violence, that would give rise to a violation of the TPA or Rules?

LCS investigation was concurrent with the TSM’s internal one, and investigators themselves were in contact from time to time, but LCS counsel did not share information with TSM counsel. LCS contacted and interviewed 14 individuals, including Dinh and the ones who contacted LCSPA. They also contacted some former TSM staff and players who either did not respond or declined to cooperate.

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The official findings are while no one witnessed Dinh be abusive towards any protected race or class, there still was a pattern of behavior that was disparaging and abusive towards pro players and staff. “Nearly all of the witnesses agreed that Dinh’s outbursts and abuse were generally limited to a player or staff member’s perceived performance,” LCS’s ruling said. As a result, they decided that:

  • TSM is fined seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000), and Dinh must complete sensitivity training and executive training.
  • To appoint an independent monitor to operate a tip-line for TSM employees and follow through with regular check-ins with TSM League of Legends players.
  • Place Dinh on probation for the next two years.

The two-year suspension might mean that any slip-up in this time frame can lead to an Echo Fox situation, where TSM might be required to either fire Dinh or forced to sell their LCS spot.

LCS noted that they also considered relevant background such as Dinh’s interaction with the Evil Geniuses' support, then part of Cloud9, Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme.

Relevant Official Rules About the Ruling

  • 14.3.1 Profanity and Hate Speech. A Team Member may not use language that is obscene, foul, vulgar, insulting, threatening, abusive, libelous, slanderous, defamatory or otherwise offensive or objectionable; or promote or incite hatred or discriminatory conduct.
  • 14.3.4 Harassment. Harassment is forbidden. Harassment is defined as systematic, hostile and repeated acts taking place over a considerable period of time, or a singular egregious instance, which is/are intended to isolate or ostracize a person and/or affect the dignity of the person.
Riot Issues a Competitive Ruling on the TSM CEO Andy Dinh
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.