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Episode 36: Call of Due-ty League Edition ft. ProReborn

Imad Khan October 1, 2020 20


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YouTuber ProReborn jumps on the show to talk Toronto Ultra withholding salaries from players for leaving Canada during the pandemic. With the borders close, it would mean that any player leaving would have much difficulty coming back in. The problem is that situations arise when players might need to go. As was the case for Carson “Brack” Newberry, who’s grandfather was going through open heart surgery at the time. According to a Twitter post, he was docked a full month’s salary for leaving.

Transcript:

SPEAKERS: Nick, Imad Khan

Imad Khan  00:02

What’s up everybody? This is FTW with Imad Khan. I’m your host Imad Khan. And joining me today on this Call of Due-ty League edition is Nick, also known as ProReborn on YouTube.

Nick  00:11

Hey

Imad Khan  00:12

It’s a bit of a shorter show, but today we’ll be talking about Toronto Ultra and the team withholding payments for its non starter players during the pandemic. The Ultra have come under fire from Dallas Empire star Ian “Crimsix” Porter over claims of canceled payments. Ultra reportedly told nonstarter players that if they left Toronto during the pandemic, their salaries would be cut. This came to a head when Carson “Brack” Newberry, had to fight to visit his grandfather who was going through open heart surgery at the time. According to Newberry. He has not been paid a full month salary. Crimsix also tweeted out that Ultra is wanting a 5050 Prize winning split from the 2021 roster, without upping salary. This still needs to be confirmed. So Nick, Ultra is owned by overactive media, which also owns Overwatch league team, the Toronto defiant and League of Legends European Championship team Mad Lions, its CEO, Chris Overholt was CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee and a VP of the Miami Dolphins. So traditional sports is in the DNA of this team. From what’s being reported, has Toronto Ultra mismanaged its players during the pandemic?

Nick  01:14

Well, there’s a few factors that go into that. But the number one factor that I think a lot of the players that are hung up on, of course, is the payments. But the other one, of course, is the fact that this league is entirely online. And this player, Brock has a completely, you know, logical reason to want to leave and going see his grandfather. And I was pretty appalled when I saw this at first originally. And it’s kind of more interesting, because Ultra didn’t have any type of like elaboration on this. I would understand if they got into how much it would cost or how much it would have the barrier it would be to get him across the border and back across the border. Again, I believe he was based in United States. I’m not 100% on that. Is that true? I’m not by any chance?

Imad Khan  01:57

I’m not sure. But I believe so.

Nick  01:59

Yeah, so getting people across the border, of course, is a barrier of its own right now. I know for me, for me to visit my family in Canada, I can’t do it, the borders not open unless it did open I’d have to look that up. But during the time while this was going on the border was definitely closed. But the bigger issue at hand is not paying the player and taking that 50 split and winning their home series as well, on top of that, they could definitely financially afford that and taking a player under your belt especially with all the subs that were bored out of their mind for the entire length of the season was definitely something that I could see why they would be so annoyed by this but I’m definitely on Ultra, or not on Ultra’s side, on the player side. Definitely on Brock’s side with this, they should have just let him do his thing. Even if he was across the border and needed to be called as a sub once again, it was an entirely an online league. They really needed to give him more of a reason to this besides a stern No. This isn’t indicate this isn’t like a regular sporting event where he has to be at a venue to play. So I don’t understand Ultra’s reasoning behind this at all.

Imad Khan  03:09

You know, when I look at what the NBA is doing in Florida, creating their bubble environment, the idea of players moving in and out just isn’t feasible, right? Especially in this pandemic, if you know a player gets sick and has to be out for two weeks, that is problematic, you know, even if they are playing remotely or playing from their apartments and you know, really being socially distant. do you think there is an argument in Toronto’s defense of being really stern and strict with its players?

Nick  03:38

Yeah, erring on the side of caution would definitely be their main argument. But once again, historically, the last season was more of a kind of sketch build for how the entire scene was going to work. And a lot of those subs the whole entire, you know, season were bored out of their minds and never even got the opportunity to play and I think Brock never got the opportunity to play in the league match. So even at that point, I think that circumstantially they should have let it happen. I don’t think there’s much of an argument on Ultra’s side because of the circumstances surrounding it, I think from the outside and when you bring up the bubble, you know, the bubble argument, if you’re an outsider from the CoD League, then you could probably see it more on Ultra’s side. But when you understand the league a little more, and you’ve been watching it the whole time, and you know how the subs have been treated historically throughout the season, then I think that your argument or the argument for Ultra kind of dies down,

Imad Khan  04:31

Hmm. You know, what’s interesting is that there are rumors that the league is considering a bubble environment for 2021. I mean, then like it will all be official and on paper like hey, if you’re in our bubble, wherever it whether it be Anaheim or wherever they choose, then really going out would not be feasible at all. And if you do go out, you won’t be able to come back in until you’re cleared to come back in. So I mean, we’ve seen it become successful for the NBA while for the MLB it’s been a total mess because they haven’t really been able to have the discipline of the same, the same type of bubble, these games are esports and you know being played digitally is the bubble environment going to cause problems?

Nick  05:11

there will most likely be unforeseen circumstances with creating a bubble environment, especially for a league that may be online once again. So I mean, if it’s all online, then there would be no reason to have the bubble environment. But for entertainment purposes, and of course, upholding the league and giving people a very entertaining show to watch, it would be in their best interest to create a bubble environments. But I definitely think the number one problem with having a bubble environment is that, of course, this pandemic is widespread, and people have family members that they may or may never be able to see. Again, if they get, you know, sick and knock on wood, hopefully that doesn’t happen to anyone in the league or their family members. But once again, it could very well happen down the line. And they would have to leave that bubble and there needs to be some sort of measures in place. And there needs to be some sort of rules and regulations kind of in hand for when that does need to happen. So players like Brock never run into this problem ever, especially a player on a main roster, they should definitely be some sort of safeguard. So if somebody on the main roster has a problem with their family that, you know, they need to see to that a sub hops in for them and that that sub obviously gets to play those games. And when they leave and come back, they get tested, they get checked, and they make sure that bubble is safe. But most definitely there needs to be some type of system in place if somebody needs to leave.

Imad Khan  06:33

Hmm. Well, I mean, this is the first time I’ve had you on since I guess the start of the Call of Duty league inaugural season. And now that it’s over, I can’t I kind of just want to know your thoughts overall. How do you think the inaugural season went? And do you feel that much needs to be improved going into 2021?

Nick  06:52

I think that there was a lot of growth that happened with the league that I saw, at least as a viewer from the beginning all the way to the end. In the beginning, I saw a lot of production hiccups, but the production team grew in size and definitely grew in experience. And I know pretty much firsthand that the did grow in size, they got a lot of more, a lot more observers as time went on. And they did a really good job with the spectating. It took a little bit for them to get into the groove of things. But spectating was a really weird experience for the first couple of weeks. And then they really got into it. One of the bigger issues that I think the players are gonna have a problem with and a lot of the hardcore fans, and anyone to an extent is that they poorly mishandled players getting DDoS’d off or players disconnecting from servers. That was a terrible experience as a viewer to see somebody get kicked out of the game and then the game continued to be played if it made it past a certain point. It got to an area where there was I think there was like a rule in hardpoint that if either team hit I don’t know the exact number, but I’ll throw it out 125 points on hard points, then the game was locked in. If a player got disconnected, the game had to be continued to play. So there were DDoS people who I really hope get caught because it’s ridiculous. There were people that were targeting players with DDoS attacks and would specifically wait for the actual break points in order to kick them offline and have the game be won in whatever team’s favor that they wanted. And that happened a few times throughout the season. And there really needs to be more safeguards for that. I don’t know exactly how they could do that. But once again, the bubble could be a possible solution to that but that’s something to watch out for next season.

Imad Khan  08:24

And then last question while I still have you is your opinions on going 4v4?

Nick  08:29

4v4 is the correct way to do it. I think that Call of Duty has always been a four vs four esports. Five versus five was weird. I always had an argument for it though. Whereas other esports had the five v five dynamic League of Legends cs go so five v five could have worked but in this scene specifically the players got annoyed with it and after a while people in the challengers bracket were annoyed with that as well. So I understand it’s just very unfortunate that we are doing it right now after players have been inducted into the champions bracket into the teams it really does break my heart to see some people essentially lose their jobs that that was really hard to watch.

Imad Khan  09:13

Well yeah, we’ll keep an eye on I guess the 2021 season and see how things fare in this the bubble environment. With that thank you so much for jumping on.

Nick  09:22

Thank you

Imad Khan  09:22

And that was FTW with Imad Khan. If you like the show, please rate subscribe and share. To see full transcripts head on over to ftwimad.com. To follow me in my writing over at the New York Times The Washington Post and elsewhere follow me on twitter @imad. Annie Pei our producer if you have any questions or would like to be our fan of the week, message her @Pei_Annie on Twitter. Joe Domeq is our Outreach Manager and Ron Lyons is our researcher. With that, we’ll catch you guys next week.

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