The Secret Is Out
I don’t usually want to involve myself in drama, however I think it is necessary that I share my thoughts at this point.
I started my first showing for Team Secret around 2 years ago, where I was part of winning 2 online tournaments, XMG Captains Draft 2.0 as well as Dota Pit Season 2. A fair chunk of money.
As it was already brought up in Evany’s blog about a year ago, this money amongst other sums, took ridiculously long to get paid out. Hilarious as it may sound, I personally received it more than a year and a half later. I managed to get kicked twice from the same team before I got my share of the money. 4Head
The blog created a lot of drama back then, and you would think that a supposedly professional organisation and one of the biggest fan favorites in Dota 2 history, would try and take care of this mess and improve upon it, but seemingly not.
In the beginning of 2016 I set up my company account, and told Kemal to delay my payment from winnings in 2015, so that the money would go directly into the company. Once I was kicked I started poking about getting paid. A few conversations later on skype as well as mailing back and forth with Secret’s secretary and I still didn’t get paid. I always had to make the first move and bug people about it.
June-July of 2016, I had already received multiple salaries from DC when I got my first payment from Secret. I got the earlier mentioned money, as well as Frankfurt major and ESL NY.
Post TI6 I still had not received the money from tournaments in 2015 as well as Shanghai Major. I started writing Kemal about the payments. Initially when I wrote him he was on vacation and we agreed he would contact me once he came home. This is another example of where I had to initiate the conversation. At this point I was told it would come the next week, and then next week after that. I was unsure at which point I should start contacting an attorney, go public or what my next move should be. I wrote Puppey about it as well. Puppey told me they had very little workers in Secret, that I would get the money, and that he would get back to me as soon as possible. Didn’t happen. Basically didn’t feel like he gave a shit. So I contacted an attorney and he started poking Kemal instead of myself. Kemal told my attorney he would send the money in two payments, the coming Monday. I waited patiently, but nothing. Finally I talked to Envy, who also seemed to have a few issues of his own. Apparently he also wrote to Kemal, probably mentioning his infamous blog, and finally I got the payment. Side note is that w33 is still missing some payments from 2015 as well.
It’s interesting to think about what would have happened if I didn’t continue to harass and be stubborn about my share of the winnings. Looking back at the time I played with Secret, Kemal was always treating us really nicely, paying for stuff, at majors we could send the bills to his room, we had solo rooms a few times where no other teams had, bootcamp in Turkey in a huge house overlooking the city. It was a great time overall. Sadly it is unknown if we, at the end of the day, paid for all of it ourselves.
I most recently found out that we apparently are giving a 10% cut to the Secret Organisation. It seems like Puppey had decided there is a 10% cut and that we should simply accept that fact. This was completely new to me. It was always known within the team that there were no prize cuts. This complete bullshit encouraged me to go public and back up Envy. If you consider all the events together: the very late payouts and the randomness of them, the jerseys that were sold in Team Secret’s name with the player’s nicknames on them (which have still yet to be paid to any players), and now the 10% cut. You could easily be encouraged to think; has Secret and Kemal paid for anything throughout all the tournaments and bootcamps? Or was it all in the end financed by our own success without us knowing?
Sure, if I felt that people in Secret cared about getting me paid or even just weren’t a pain in the ass to deal with on the matter, I would probably not mind giving the organisation 10%. But that is simply not the case. The amount of big words, promises about salary, sponsor deals, and the belief that we were playing for an organisation that was different from most, just makes me want my full share.
I think it’s important that this stuff comes to light so that hopefully an effort can be made by organisations and tournaments to improve on these things in the future. It has been like this for a very long time for Dota 2 players and probably all esports players. Many years in a row I’ve had very delayed payments, and I have wanted to write about this a few times already. It’s incredibly frustrating. We don’t know when the tournament transfers the money to the organisation, we don’t know how much of this money is being taxed before reaching the organisation, and most of the time there isn’t paperwork on it either.
There is hope though. We live in a world where a 20 million USD prizepool gets paid out a few days after the tournament ends, directly to the players. Why can’t other tournaments and organisations do the same?
DC does it. Salary on time, everything in order, full transparency. Good shit.