TSM: A Lawyer Breaks Down All the Doublelift, Leena, Dardoch Drama

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Doublelift, Team Liquid, LCS, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

A clip recently surfaced involving TSM President Leena Xu discussing the roster situation while her boyfriend, Doublelift, was streaming. Here is a break down of all the issues this clip and the whole situation raised.

From the time that TSM announced they had re-acquired star AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, a phrase has been thrown around quite casually and (in my opinion) incorrectly: conflict of interest. Because Doublelift is currently in a relationship with TSM President Leena Xu, many perceived this transaction to be unethical, despite the fact that Riot Games publicly stated that they were kept aware of the trade, investigated, and found no wrongdoing. Now, though, there has been more fuel added to the fire.

Today, a clip surfaced from Doublelift’s stream during which Leena was speaking on the phone regarding roster moves for TSM’s League of Legends team. During the clip, she can be heard (though only faintly in the original, unedited clip) saying something to the effect that they were having trouble trading their current starting jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett because “no one wants to play with him.”

Now there are a lot of layers to the issue of the original trade and now the revelation that Leena discusses TSM business in front of a current player. There have been implications from posts on Reddit that she may have done this in the past while Doublelift was a member of Team Liquid. This creates a question of conflict of interest for her conduct and the knee-jerk reaction from most commentators has been predictably harsh.

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In my opinion, while the outrage against her is justified for her poor, unprofessional decision, evidence of any actual wrongdoing is flimsy. And, if any party is being harmed by a conflict of interest, ironically, that party would be TSM themselves.

My daily job is a contracts attorney, so I review contracts including non-disclosure agreements, service agreements, and the like on a day-to-day basis. Although I am not in the entertainment, sports, or esports industry, I can confidently discuss issues like conflict of interest, fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and possible legal or organizational punishments in broad strokes.

I will preface my discussion by stating that I do not have any knowledge of LCS rules, any agreements that TSM has contracted with Leena, Doublelift, or Dardoch, and I am not barred in the State of California, meaning that certain contract or securities principles may be different than what I lay out. As a result, this article is purely for a broad, hypothetical look at what legal and ethical principles probably apply. No interested parties should rely on this article as any sort of legal advice or guidance and should consult local attorneys for any action they desire to take.