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Lack of trust, dysfunction and naïveté broke eUnited’s Halo roster

An attempt to improve eUnited’s Halo roster turned into a mess that will likely split the team before Halo Infinite’s World Championship in October. Tyler “Spartan” Ganza announced he benched himself in protest of eUnited’s management and because he doesn’t want to play with Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes. His statement reveals eUnited’s dysfunction, naïveté concerning sports business and indicates mistrust between teammates. Spartan’s tweet also explains his side of the story and where his conviction comes from.

Nick “KingNick” Panzella texted Spartan asking why eUnited wanted to drop him. Spartan says he didn’t know what Nick was talking about, but he found out Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes talked with eUnited management about signing Matthew “FormaL” Piper, a former Call of Duty champion who switched to Halo Infinite. Spartan was livid eUnited was considering roster changes and that Ryan discussed the idea with management – but not him. “We just finished 2nd at a major tournament and we were making strides and two weeks before an event you try to have a player replaced without my knowledge or permission?” Spartan said in his tweet.

No one needed Spartan’s permission. Spartan didn’t need to know at that time. Team captain or not, second best player or best player, it’s management that makes decisions on rosters. Players can influence decisions management makes, though. We’ve seen this throughout LeBron James’ career in the NBA. Most recently with the Lakers, he convinced management to remove two contributing role-players in favor of two stars that were past their primes. Management listened. In Ryan’s mind, FormaL is a championship player and demonstrated he had what it took to play Halo with the best. It would be irresponsible not to consider signing him. If Ryan asked Tyler what he thought before he went to management, Tyler only has two responses: that’s a great idea or we should keep our roster the way it is. If Tyler said the latter, Ryan’s mind isn’t going to change, and he’s going to management anyway. Ryan did nothing wrong.

This situation is an example of why management exists — in any job. If you have something to say concerning a co-worker or an idea to improve your job, you take it to management. Whether they agree or disagree, they’ll manage situations how they see fit. eUnited concluded it was worth thinking about signing FormaL. That’s business.

Clearly neither Ryan or Tyler trusted each other to discuss this situation. Even if Spartan thought keeping the roster as is was the best choice, they could negotiate a way forward. But Ryan didn’t want to cooperate with his teammates. He wanted FormaL with eUnited. Ryan was not wrong in approaching management (assuming he approached management), but he should have discussed it with Spartan first. That’s poor leadership. Now Spartan could question what other roster ideas might be mulling in Ryan’s mind, which isn’t a good mental space to leave your teammate in.

That mistrust caused Spartan to declare he doesn’t want to play with Ryan anymore. Since eUnited’s players found out about dropping Nick for FormaL, morale declined and so have their placements in each tournament. The situation became too personal and players lost perspective. No one takes a job to make friends. You make friends as you work the job. But you’re always co-workers first. Even if you took a job to work with a friend, you’re now co-workers first while on the job. It’s everyone’s responsibility to create the best roster. That includes offering up your co-workers as a sacrifice for another player who might help your team win. Eventually you should be happy with what you have and build chemistry, of course, but at the time eUnited’s roster was still new for Halo Infinite. Ryan wasn’t thinking about Anaheim, he was thinking about the World Championship. I’m not saying this roster couldn’t win more — I  think it could — but it’s not betrayal to keep an eye on the open market.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett felt betrayed after Ray Allen left the Boston Celtics for the Miami Heat to play with LeBron when they felt their “big 3” still had gas in the tank. Ray Allen won another championship. Pierce and Garnett did not. Ray Allen didn’t leave because of the team, he left because he felt their championship days were over. He made a business decision that succeeded. These are the kinds of considerations management and players must be open to. It’s not easy at times, but it’s not always personal.

Where eUnited’s management failed is allowing this information to get to Nick. No one wants to be traded or dropped. You keep these considerations confidential and only discuss them with the player if you’re serious about them. Otherwise, you create unnecessary drama. Now eUnited posted a flaky statement that’s supposed to tell everyone Spartan’s valuable, but Spartan claims eUnited isn’t taking buyout offers. Now eUnited’s making itself look unattractive for prospective players and new fans. It’s a sloppy situation that Ryan, Spartan, or eUnited haven’t handled well. The only fix is the whole team smoothing everything out or blowing it up. I anticipate a new eUnited next season.

Podcast Editor | [email protected]

Anthony Shelton hosts and produces the Gaming Trend podcast and creates opinion videos occasionally on YouTube. He carries some of the strongest opinions among the staff and is generally harder to impress. But if impressed, he sings developers' praises just as loudly. He typically plays everything except horror and most RTS, but genres he gravitates towards are platformers, FPS, racing, roguelikes, fighting, and loot-based games. He has quit Twitter and uses Threads. Follow him at iamashelton.

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