Team Liquid head coach Josh ‘Jatt’ Leesman has departed the organisation following his benching of Welsh top-laner Barney ‘Alphari’ Morris.
Team Liquid posted the update on its Twitter page and also ran a press conference stream on the Team Liquid Twitch channel, saying Jatt resigned two days ago.
In his place, Kold has been promoted to interim head coach, with H4xDefender working as assistant coach for the team playing in the North American LCS.
“Alphari remains on a personal break until June 27th, and Jenkins will continue to start in the LCS until further notice – we are extremely proud of his standout play and commitment to the team amid challenging circumstances.”
Liquid also said that jungler Santorin is also taking some time away to rest and visit specialists to determine the cause of his ‘debilitating symptoms, which may be related to health issues he’s dealt with in the past’. Armao will be stepping in for ‘at least this weekend’ in the LCS.
Steve Arhancet, co-CEO of Team Liquid, said on the stream that a month before the start of the LCS Summer Split, Liquid started practicing again, and at that time Alphari was going through what Steve considered ‘major health and family issues’.
“I think the symptoms associated with these issues were him questioning his motivation to play, his enjoyment of League of Legends… he wasn’t competing for his teammates or himself in the manner he was in the Spring Season,” Steve said. “I don’t feel it’s our position to share [Alphari’s personal issues].
“Coaching staff had a conversation with him and suggested he took a break. At the time the decision was not to, but in hindsight we should have been more pushy with him taking a personal break at that time. But we didn’t, we continued on, and performance was not great in scrims.”
After this, Steve also admitted they did not handle a conversation with Alphari well.
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’.
Jatt didn’t go into the reasoning for his resignation.
The news comes after Christian ‘IWillDominate’ Rivera, streamer for Cloud9 and former LCS player, posted tweets this week suggesting Jatt would be resigning and Alphari would be getting his spot back in the team.
IWillDominate’s tweets came a week after prominent British esports analyst and journalist Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields published a video talking about the situation, and claiming that other players on Liquid had not been happy with Jatt.
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Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, 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.