While the fate of Singapore's Overwatch team hangs in the balance, one of the accused players has responded to the turmoil that left their line-up in disarray.
In an interview with AsiaOne on Thursday (May 18), Manfred "Lumi" Sit shared that while there are some truths to the allegations that he was toxic, things aren't quite as they appear to be.
Manfred, 21, began: "I would say it definitely takes two hands to clap — both parties were at fault and the whole situation could have been handled a lot better.
"While I admit to being toxic in ranked (online competitive matches) and could have treated my teammates better, I would say that the rumours about me being toxic in a team setting are definitely exaggerated," he added.
These statements were made after a Twitter post by the Singapore Overwatch World Cup team's official account on May 14 stated they would be disbanding following allegations of toxicity.
The Overwatch World Cup is a global, high-tier tournament for Overwatch 2, a five-versus-five first-person shooter game by Activision Blizzard.
Singapore's representative team is also known as the Crimson Manes.
The team's social media manager, Ryan "rXis" Tan, allegedly took control of the Twitter account to announce the team's dissolution, adding that Manfred, along with two other players, Joshua "Sgy" Lim and Marcus "Kame" Kwa, had been removed from the team due to their toxic behaviour towards others.
'Lack of direction and accountability as head coach'
Manfred revealed that his frustrations stemmed from one major headache of his — he claimed the head coach, Seetoh "JohnGalt" Jian Qing, was "not present" in any of the recent happenings within the team.
For three weeks prior to the meltdown, he claimed that Jian Qing was occupied with "understandable" personal matters and thus absent.
However, Manfred posited that "it was unjust that he (Jian Qing) decided to throw everyone under the bus" and also for allegedly refusing to "take any responsibility for the team's direction and his accountability as head coach" after the team fell apart.
According to Manfred, he was told by Jian Qing early into the World Cup season that he was the "captain" of the team and was allegedly instructed to lead the rest of the team alongside Joshua, 19, and Marcus, 22, all of whom have recent competitive experience in Overwatch 1 and 2.
"We started off fine and although Joshua and I were very direct in terms of our criticism and comments made, it was mainly gameplay-related and nothing was said on a personal level," he continued.
He would also check in with players who "seemed down" after practice, Manfred added, referring to Kim "Overshake" Do-hoon and Figo "Azalea" Chua.
In a recent interview with YouTube content creator Shine_ow, Do-hoon commented that Manfred was a player that he could "confide in".
Do-hoon also added: "Manfred's like a veteran in the scene and he teaches me my mistakes and if I have a question, he'll answer it immediately.
"If he doesn't know the answer, then both of us would think about it, along with our head coach Jian Qing."
A Blizzard ban, or something else?
Manfred's ineligibility to compete in the Overwatch World Cup was cited to be a result of his soft ban by Blizzard, putting his account in bad standing with the company — or at least that's what he assumed.
"From what was told to me, in April, I wasn't allowed to play due to my account being 'silenced' in January from abusive chat," he recalled.
After an appeal to Blizzard, the Crimson Manes' committee — including Jian Qing, Ryan and general manager Maya Mikazuki — was purportedly given the green light to add him to the team's roster.
But last week, he was allegedly informed by the committee that his appeal had "failed" and that he was banned.
Manfred commented: "In Jian Qing's recent post [on Reddit], it seems like he had requested for the three players (Joshua, Marcus and himself) to be kicked from the team, rather than a ban from Blizzard themselves."
Holding himself to higher standards
While the future of the Crimson Manes is still unclear, Manfred also shared his retrospective thoughts with AsiaOne.
"I feel like there is some truth to us being toxic and not providing the best environment for our fellow teammates," he said.
However, he also added: "Everyone had a part to play. The lack of commitment and mismanagement from the general manager, appointed head coach and certain players, and the interactions between players that built up tension as weeks went by — this entire saga could have been handled a lot better from everyone involved.
"While I haven't really been actively playing ranked, I do admit that I have not been the nicest person in ranked.
"As a Contenders player, I could definitely set higher standards for myself and for the newer generation."
Jian Qing declined to comment for this article.
The Overwatch Contenders are regional tournaments organised by Blizzard for Overwatch 2.
Manfred also apologised for his actions: "I'm terribly sorry if I have offended anyone in ranked and hope they do not take it to heart.
"For the people in Team Singapore, I'm sorry if I was a terrible leader and hope that there's no hard feelings between any of us. All the best to you in whatever you pursue in the future."
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