Some of the most promising players on Griffin are now free agents, the organization tweeted Monday. Following the news that it has destroyed all the old contracts and offered its members the option to stay or leave without repercussions, three of Griffin’s players are already out the door.
These are mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, support Son “Lehends” Si-woo, and sub top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon. “Our contract with Lehends, Doran and Chovy was ended after mutual consent. Sincerely thank you for bringing precious memories and spectacular games to Griffin and Ourfin. Best Wishes. Thank you,” wrote Griffin in their farewell message.
Some walk-outs were expected, given the drama that’s been circulating Griffin since September. The release of former head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho opened the floodgates, after cvMax not only shared his side on the story about how he was let go, but also blew the whistle on mismanagement within the team in relation to the illicit loaning of player Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok. The latter was reportedly asked by Griffin director Cho Gyu-nam to sign a five-year contract with LPL’s JD Gaming without Kanavi’s legal guardians’ consent (Kanavi being a minor according to Korean law) — a deal against Riot Games’ rulebook.
cvMax’s allegations triggered an joint investigation by LPL and LCK officials. The findings confirmed cvMax’s allegations, led to an $85,000 for Griffin, and an indefinite ban of director Cho from all LoL esports activities.
However, the investigation also showed physical and verbal abuse from cvMax towards his players, leading to an infinite ban on him as well.
With so much negative attention on the brand, the invalidation of Griffin’s current contracts seems to have come as the last straw. Earlier today, the team announced that all of its contracts have been drafted unfairly, and have since been destroyed and re-written. For the trio of Chovy, Lehends, and Doran, however, a new contract was not enough reason to stay on the Griffin ship.
The departure of Chovy and Lehends in particular will be a heavy blow to Griffin. Together with Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Chovy represented much of Griffin’s laning strength. And with Lehends leaving, this is the end of the bot lane duo with Park “Viper” Do-hyeon — the bot lane carry who earned himself the reputation of being able to play a wide range of carries. As for Doran, his departure comes in the wake of a Worlds campaign that saw him sit on the bench for all games.
Whether the other Griffin heavy hitters, namely Tarzan and Viper, will want to stay with so much of the firepower out the door remains to be seen, though forecast is cloudy for the three-times LCK grand finalists.