According to News1, Griffin top laner Choi “Sword” Sung-won has filed a police report against his former coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho, alleging verbal and physical harassment during cvMax’s tenure at Griffin. According to Sword’s father who’s been questioned by the police, there has been continued acts of abuse such as swearing.
“After Griffin were promoted to the LCK, there were a lot of important games and [cvMax] used to hit [Sword] on his shoulders,” Sword’s father said, saying that cvMax allegedly called Sword’s play “disgusting” and that he’ll “kill” him because of it. The coach has also allegedly issued threats towards Sword’s own family, for which they’ve looked for mental health counselling.
When asked for comment, cvMax told News1 that while there might have been some rough words said to players during his coaching time with Griffin, there’s never been any real assault or harassment.
Sword’s police report is the next chapter of the still developing Griffin controversy, which started a few months back after cvMax was let go from the club. Apart from sharing his story about why he was released from the club — a story which initiated the conversation of the alleged verbal and physical abuse towards the players — cvMax also broke the news of player Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok’s unlawful loan to LPL’s JD Gaming. The latter triggered an investigation from Riot Games (together with LCK and LPL officials), which originally led to cvMax’s and Griffin director Cho Gyu-nam’s indefinite suspension from professional League of Legends, and later resignation. Following public outcry, including a massive petition in support for cvMax, Riot Games reverted cvMax’s punishment and allowed him to stay as head coach for his new team, DragonX, for the time being.
While that wrapped up that part of the drama, the storyline of cvMax’s alleged abuse is apparently still open. When the news initially broke, there were conflicting viewpoints from the affected parties, with certain players, including Sword and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon speaking against cvMax, while the coach denied all allegations of harassment and abuse. On a different occasion, Sword, Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, and Shin “Rather” Hyeong-seop, shared further details about cvMax’s coaching style.
“I wasn’t the victim of physical, verbal abuse, but I witnessed him doing so to other players,” Tarzan told InvenGlobal. “While we were preparing for the Summer finals, cvMax once said to a player, ‘asshole, you really fucking suck’, and that was strongly engraved in my head.”
“Isn’t cvMax the perpetrator? It doesn’t make sense if the perpetrator says that there was a tacit agreement,” pondered cvMax’s colleague on the bench, coach Byun “Chaos” Young-sub. “How is it different from bullies saying that their victims agreed to their actions through silence? Logically speaking, it makes no sense.”
However, when cvMax switched teams, hot free agents such as former Griffin mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon declined major offers from LCS teams to re-join their coach at DragonX, even if the statements from his former players and colleagues do suggest worrying trends in cvMax’s coaching behavior.
Griffin as an organization are also on thin ice. Recently, the club was forced to scrap all existing player contracts for being unfair and exploitative and re-draft new ones. As a result, several Griffin players chose free agency and eventually left the club, including Chovy, Son “Lehends” Si-woo, and Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon. This whole issue, however, prompted Riot Games to force Griffin’s parent company Still8 to surrender ownership of Griffin to a third part and the team was issued a final warning — one more screw up and it could cost them their LCK slot.