Starcraft pro Steven "Destiny" Bonnell released from ROOT Gaming
Steven "Destiny" Bonnell, StarCraft II Pro and popular streaming personality, has not had a good year in regards to his status with teams. First, he was let go by Quantic Gaming after his decision to depart Twitch.tv as a sponsored gamer. It turns out the main reason Quantic agreed to sign Destiny was so they would have access to a portion of his proceeds from his stream, not because he's a phenomenal tournament player. So he went back to his former team ROOT Gaming, which had been recently restarted by longtime friend of Destiny, CatZ.
Then, this happens. In a bit of NSFW drama, Destiny and two of his teammates on ROOT Gaming were on Skype discussing some.. shall we say, less than public images of a female fan that had been exchanged between her and Destiny. Apparently someone involved with the situation in the Skype channel informed said female, who in turn hacked Destiny's Twitter and Reddit accounts, posting a picture that he had apparently exchanged. Let's just say the picture wasn't of anything I can post on this website. Okay, let's just call it his larva and leave it at that. (Geddit? He's a zerg player.) So, all in all, a very public display of just how distasteful Destiny is in private.
So, in the resulting s**tstorm, Root was forced to let Destiny go after sponsors pressured them to release him, saying that his public antics were extremely detrimental to the team. ROOT released this statement on the situation.
Today is a very sad day for ROOT Gaming. Steven Bonell II also known as Destiny and ROOT will part ways. This is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do while being the leader of ROOT Gaming, but management (myself included) decided it is for the greater good of the team in the long run.
Destiny isn't being released because we think he is a racist, or because we think any of the things that haters make him out to be are true. In my opinion, Destiny is a genuine, outspoken and sincere person, a very good friend; one of my best friends, and I have a lot of respect for him in every regard. We don't agree on everything, but he is one of the first people I would go to if I needed advice on any grounds.
ROOT is a team based on friendship, and we honestly hate to go against this for the first time, but at the same time for what we believe is the greater good for everyone else in the team in the long run. In the last incident that Steven was involved in not long ago, our sponsors received a lot of negative feedback through e-mail about the whole situation, when it comes to Steven, we know that this isn't the first or the last time this will happen. The Chatlog wasn't pretty and it brought us a lot of negative publicity. It also, obviously, doesn’t reflect the opinions of our entire team and even though I believe it’s just silly talk between friends and it should be a private matter, we can't remotely agree or celebrate some of the things said in it, for this reason, TT1 and Fayth are receiving a warning and will be suspended from participating in clanwars and internal team activities for a month or more.
As a team that is trying to grow and become a respectable organization in a growing industry; a team that was created and is ran by professional gamers, situations like this hurt us and our future chances of success. Our current sponsors were very understanding of the situation and for that I thank them. But that is not to say doors won't close in the future because of previous incidents. If you've ever worked in a restaurant, say, as a waiter, you will know how much bigger of a deal it is to have negative feedback and someone telling the manager or writing a letter to the ownership of the restaurant about you being a crappy waiter than to have someone commend you on how great you are doing.
We release Steven today because there are 25+ people working hard every day to make ROOT grow and we don't want their efforts to be in vain. We release Destiny today because as selfish as it may sound, I'd rather release Steven today than disband our team tomorrow due to lack of financial support.
Steven remains a close friend of mine and everyone on the team, we will always continue to ROOT for him and his success in every regard. But he is no longer, officially a part of ROOT. I want to apologize to the many fans who will not like this decision and I just hope you can at least, like Steven, understand it.
It's situations like these that remind me how like professional sports eSports is becoming. Sponsorship money is no laughing matter to a team, especially in eSports where the industry itself is fledgling. Hopefully Destiny will temper his actions in the future.
Dustin Steiner is GameZone's eSports Correspondent! Follow him on Twitter @VGHC_Deitis and check out Video Gaming Hard Corps, where he is a local tournament organizer for the S. FL. Fighting Game Community.