UPDATE (June 24th 2021): Jatt has resigned as Team Liquid coach following the benching of Alphari, who remains on a personal break until June 27th following ‘major health and family issues’.
North American esports organisation Team Liquid have published a statement explaining why their UK League of Legends top-laner, Barney ‘Alphari’ Morris, was benched last weekend.
They confirmed that Thomas ‘Jenkins’ Tran – who subbed in for Alphari after Liquid lost their first match last week – would also be playing in week two of the LCS Summer 2021 Season.
“Last week Alphari was benched for performance and attitude reasons, which were concerns that started during the practice leading to Summer Split,” the org said in a tweet.
“Alphari has given us permission to share that these issues revolve around private reasons involving his personal life.
“In the right mindset, we believe Alphari is one of the best in his role. In hindsight, before competing last week we should have come to a decision for Alphari to take some time off.”
Team Liquid confirmed that Alphari will now be taking a break until June 27th, and that they will be providing him their ‘full support for what he’s going through personally and to get his motivation back to what it was’.
They also clarified the ‘performance issues’ started during practice, not stage play.
Alphari responded by wishing the team luck and praising Jenkins:
He also wrote another tweet which was later deleted:
did u see alphari deleted tweet? pic.twitter.com/YLvn5FUjm3— ryan (@positivelyhux) June 12, 2021
Team Liquid were originally coy around their reasons to bench Alphari, with Team Liquid head coach Joshua ‘Jatt’ Leesman saying ‘there’s a lot of context that’s really hard to understand from the outside that I think is unfair to share publicly’.
“It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, it was something that was made with a lot of care over the last month,” Jatt later told Travis Gafford in an interview.
Alphari made fun of this comment about his benching in a tweet, saying his choice to order Chipotle fast food ‘wasn’t spur of the moment’, but ‘calculated a month in advance’.
Under Jenkins, Liquid have won two games and lost one, bringing their total so far in the Summer Split to two wins and two losses.
Liquid play Evil Geniuses and Immortals tomorrow (Sunday June 13th).
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.