[Update] TSM Fires Coach For "Unethical Practices"

TSM has had a successful weekend for the first time in what felt like ages. They pulled a huge upset against front runner Cloud9 and were able to beat their close opponent Immortals. Still, they had some really bad publicity again. Coach Peter Zhang was fired on Saturday.

Peter zhang
Not part of the team anymore: Peter Zhang had to leave. | © Riot Games

In spite of a picture perfect weekend in the LCS there is yet another drama brewing around TSM. Zhang "Peter Zhang" Yi has been relieved of his duties as Head of Player Development effective immediately. The apparent reasons for that were described as "conflict of interests" and "unethical practices" put to use by the long-time TSM staff member. He supposedly earned a share of the salary that young players from China and Taiwan got when they signed a contract with TSM. Adding to that, he apparently tried to borrow money off of TSM members, citing different excuses each time he asked the different persons.

On March 19, 2022, TSM announced that Peter Zhang will no longer be part of the team. He has been TSMs head coach starting in November 2018 until he became Head of Player Development in November 2020. These accusations apparently fall into both these time phases.

[Update March 25, 2022]

Yesterday, TSM's former Head of Player Development Peter Zhang issued a personal statement regarding his firing from the team and the whole situation that led to it. In general, he disputes most of the claims that have been made about him. He is stating that he never acted as a player agent for TSM's newest signings nor took a cut from the players salaries.

In his statement, he is also talking about the last months within the team when they were deciding how to approach the future especially regarding the roster. Although he admitted to being involved in the process of TSM focusing on young talents from China, he said he never took matters in his own hands and merely was giving advice to the management.

Furthermore, Peter Zhang also issued an apology for the mistakes he made while trying to come up with a way to pay for his grandmother's hospital bill. He explained what led to him withholding the money from selling the car of former TSM player SwordArt and instead sending it to his family.

Lastly he also criticized the way TSM's management has been handling the latest crisis, suggesting that recent departures of key personnel had played a big role. Most of Peter Zhang's statement is directly contradicting the team's side of the story. It will be interesting to see how this matter will eventually turn out.

Acting As An Agent For Young Players From Taiwan & China

In principle, there is nothing wrongful about working as a player agent in esports. This will only turn into a problem when this sort of employment creates a conflict of interests. This was the case with Peter Zhang. He was responsible for signing young talents from China and Taiwan under the premise of earning a share of their salary once they were signed by his team. This would've been common practice if the agent acts as a neutral negotiator but if someone employed by TSM is receiving part of his player's salary, he is no longer unbiased.

This means that the equal treatment of all players is no longer guaranteed. With some, the Head of Player Development might earn money, with others, he doesn't. You can probably already imagine who that coach might be more invested in. A specific example is TSM Academy's current support, Wang "Yursan Sheng-Yu. Peter Zhang admitted to receiving a share of Yursan's income. Zhang stated that he was only supposed to relay a monthly sum of $1,000 to Yursan's actual agent, though.

He also revealed that he frequently exchanged money for different players. This is because as a Green Card holder, he is able to have bank accounts in China and the US. These transactions, as Zhang stated, gave the false impression of wrongdoing.

Doublelift: "Never Lend This Type Of Person Money"

Further insight for fans was given by none other than TSM's former ADC Doublelift. In his stream, he shared some interesting stories about his relationship with Peter Zhang. Definitely check out that clip because some passages are so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh. Doublelift stated that he saw Zhang as a friend and always got along with him. He apparently was irritated when his coach asked him for a large amount of money, though. He wanted to borrow $70,000 from Doublelift to be able to pay for his grandma's cancer surgery.

This raised some suspicion with Doublelift, so he asked other team members if Peter Zhang asked them for money as well. He apparently did ask. He tried to borrow sums between $10,000 and $200,000 off several people within TSM. The reason for that kind of behavior was probably rooted in a business between him and former TSM support Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh. Zhang sold SwordArts car for about $80,000 when SwortArt moved back to China. Instead of transferring that money to him once the car was sold, Peter Zhang apparently used it to pay for his grandmother's hospital bill.

It is common in China for friends and colleagues to loan each other money. I have learned a hard lesson about the cultural differences in America. I will work with Riot in any investigation and have evidence necessary to prove my innocence.

As you can see, Riot will most likely start an investigation into the matter. This is why you need to take everything right here with a grain of salt since the last word has not yet been spoken. Doublelift's statements cannot be externally verified either. He himself has been amidst of TSM drama from time to time as well. However, this might be resolved. We'll keep you posted.