In the heat of the LoL Roster Change craze, when Adrian “Adrian” Ma was announced to have signed with Phoenix1, people from Echo Fox contacted the player, seeking to talk to him about the possibility of joining Echo Fox, the org owned by former NBA Small Forward, Rick Fox. Once the management of Phoenix1 heard about it, they lodged a complaint to Riot Games about the attempt at poaching a player who was under contract with another organization. Riot didn’t hurry to respond to the allegations, provoking the rest of the NA teams to threaten to refuse crims with the Echo Fox team in the 2017 season.
Finally, weeks after the conflict came to light, Riot Games responded with the results of their investigation. According to them, Echo Fox is in the clear due to a technicality. What technicality? According to Riot Games, Adrian wasn’t a part of Phoenix1 as far as they were concerned when Echo Fox contacted him, even though the fact that the player has signed a contract with Phoenix1 has been made public at the time. As an organization which tries to make a business out of eSports, Echo Fox cannot possibly pretend they didn’t know that Adrian already had a team.
Why is Riot letting Echo Fox to get away with it? There are two reasons. First has to do with how contracts work in League of Legends. Let’s say Team A signs Player A. Normally, this would mean that he’s good to go to play in the LCS. Not while Riot Games is responsible for the league. First, you have to submit the documentation to Riot Games and wait for approval. Once the guys at Riot decide that the player you signed is okay with them, they approve him and update their official contract database to reflect it. The problem is that the approval process and updating of the database can take a long time. Some players are still shown to be members of various teams, even when they left those teams a month ago. That same is true for some players who joined new teams weeks ago. While it’s true that Riot has a right to make sure that the players representing their League are acceptable, the situation where you can try and poach them for an unspecified amount of time after the signing of a contract is not okay.
The second reason why Riot is letting Echo Fox to get away with the whole thing is Rick Fox. What do I mean? Let’s say that Chris Badawi or Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykkles still had a League of Legends team with all the rough things they’ve said about Riot Games. What would Riot say then? The hammer of Riot justice would fall on their head, hard. Rick Fox is no Badawi or MonteCristo, though. Riot needs people of Rick Fox’s stature saying good things about eSports in general and League of Legends specifically. We’re not saying that Mr. Fox wouldn’t get brought down if he did something really bad, but for offenses like this, where a grey area of what is right and what isn’t exists, of course Echo Fox got cut some slack. That is the life of the rich and famous.