Boston Uprising in controversy after alarming player conditions, multiple staff complaints
The Boston Uprising organization has been under the microscope recently as a report came out this week highlighting the dismal living conditions of players as well as a slew of complaints lodged at the coaching staff of the Boston Uprising, mainly centered around their President of Gaming, Christian “HuK” Loranger. Boston Uprising were a peculiar team last season as they became the first team to achieve a 10-0 stage run back in Stage Three, but it’s obvious now that behind the scenes, the team structure was much more fragmented than anyone could imagine.
Uprising through authority
For the Boston Uprising fans, their team has been no stranger to controversy given the whirlwind of events that followed the release of their former DPS Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez back in April.
In spite of that scandal, Boston Uprising came back from the depths and dominated their way to a perfect Stage Three run. Suddenly, the onus was lifted off of the organization as they literally won their way out of controversy and their team was suddenly put in playoff contention.
During the playoffs, Boston Uprising looked worse for wear as they eventually lost 2:1 in their match series to the Philadelphia Fusion. For a team that looked damn near unstoppable for a short amount of time during Stage Three, their drop in form was dramatic considering the team dynamic was so balanced for Boston Uprising, but the new allegations surfacing this week make sense of all those issues.
Starting with the player dynamics, Boston’s President of Gaming was directly under fire for occasionally breaking off the team into groups based on ethnicity and making the team learn in separate groups rather than a united team. This choice of coaching is a strange one considering the game of Overwatch is centered around team synergy; but the half Korean, half Western roster that Boston had gave some sort of precedent for the tactic, albeit an unhelpful one.
It was also noted that the players and staff had no dedicated translator until late into Stage Four and well after their former coach Da-hee “Crusty” Park had left the nest, leaving their Main Tank and Team Captain Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh to do all of the translating for a brief period of the season.
Striker goes on strike
On top of all this, it was also reported that players like Woo-yeol “Kalios” Shin and Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon would regularly rage and cause disruption during scrim blocks and VOD reviews. Kalios was said to have berated coaching staff on multiple occasions, resulting in a ban from the training facility.
Striker, growing more and more frustrated with the level of practice and team quality, would often break computer peripherals and other equipment out of anger, postponing practice schedules and even cancelling entire scrim blocks when the problem got too out of hand.
This problem has manifested itself into a contract buyout issue where Boston Uprising are essentially holding Striker hostage as he has already put in a trade request but Boston Uprising are not entertaining his demands whatsoever.
Striker in many ways became the savior for Boston Uprising after DreamKazper’s exodus from the Overwatch League, and the fact that Boston are having trouble holding onto their best DPS now that he wants a pay bump is a dark stain on their organization and the league as a whole.
The circus goes on
This contract issue isn’t just a problem with Striker individually. The report highlighted that most players on the Boston Uprising are sitting on minimum league salaries as they were one of the more inexperienced rosters coming into Season One.
While their contracts could be justified for the first season, after a playoff placement that they had being one of the lesser known teams in the league should make most of their players obvious candidates for a pay raise and once again the Boston Uprising staff have refused to give ground on this issue, which lowers their stock tremendously as an organization that is actively looking for free agents this offseason as well.
To add insult to injury, Boston Uprising also came under fire for having dismal housing situations as groups of three players were forced to share two bedroom apartments in a cramped living space.
This allegation is completely unacceptable given the money invested into each team. Boston Uprising is bankrolled by serious entities in the New England area that are strapped for cash, and the money saved on player contracts should be reinvested in proper living conditions for all players and staff alike. At the very minimum guaranteeing a private living space for each player.
Is HuK a deterrent to success?
One of the more scandalous marks on this report came from HuK’s communication, or lack thereof, with staff and players as he reportedly made staff members cry on multiple occasions through criticism of ‘minor mistakes’. The problem got so bad that the organization asked HuK to take a step back from his responsibilities and give more control to other coaching staff on the team.
This issue is an interesting one considering the credit that HuK has sought out to gain from being seen as one of the more ‘hands-on’ General Managers within the league. It seems now that his hands on approach led to some of the more turbulent team atmospheres the staff had to endure and maybe his departure from the team could be a new lease on life for the team if they hope to keep Striker on their books for the 2019 season.
It’s been confirmed by the report that Christian “HuK” Loranger has been the sole entity keeping Striker from finding a happier home within the league. After Boston Uprising granted Striker the ability to hold trials with other teams, the Boston staff would negotiate a buyout that well exceeded what other teams could pay, sometimes being as high as five times his initial buyout clause.
This, along with his failing to notify Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov of his eventual release from the roster with just three weeks left to go on the apartment lease, are some of the most despicable acts committed by any Overwatch League high ranking staff member since the league has formed.
For a league that prides themselves on professionalism in the space, the Boston Uprising situation is the complete opposite of that and more teams and officials need to be put on notice to not repeat the same bone headed mistakes that cost the Uprising and Christian Loranger huge team chemistry issues.