Overwatch League drama has reached new depths, and this time, the scandal has emerged from the Washington Justice. Once again, the Washington Justice has released staff members that were essential to their success, raising concern in the community.
Thinning the Herd
Earlier in May, the Washington justice released two of their best players, Corey “Corey” Nigra and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel. After much criticism, the fan base died down when the team acquired replacements. Earlier this week, the Washington Justice issued a statement releasing Analynn “Bawlynn” Dang and Christopher “Bani” Benell. Both were coaches for the team, and Bawlynn was General Manager for Team USA at the 2019 Overwatch World Cup. The statement was vague and showed no real empathy for the departing staff.
This isn’t the first time that the Washington Justice has abruptly departed with their coaching staff midseason. Last year the Justice released their entire coaching staff almost immediately following the 2019 season. Despite elevating the team to new levels, in both 2019 and 2020, it seems it wasn’t enough for the Washington Justice organization.
Questions are Raised
The question has to be posed, why would the Washington Justice release one of the most proven general managers in professional Overwatch? Bawlynn’s credentials shouldn’t be questioned, and former player Corey hinted that the issues stem from within. Organizations are struggling with internal management which has led to players becoming unhappy.
There is no definitive evidence of what is going on inside the Washington Justice organisation. Bawlynn has yet to release a statement about her departure but it is safe to assume it was not a mutual decision. The Justice said that the decision was “ to better equip our competitive team for success.” The team is sitting at 19 out of 20 in the standing, and very few things will bring them back for the May Melee tournament.
The track record of Overwatch League teams has been less than successful so far in 2020. The Boston Uprising had yet another sexual misconduct allegation, the Vancouver Titans released their entire roster, and the mass exodus of talent in January raised concerning questions. The 2020 season of the Overwatch League is over halfway done, and for many teams, this is make-or-break time.
The Washington Justice will have a week or two of practice before they compete once more. The team will need to take this time to bunker down and prepare for the latter half of the season. We have seen teams make bigger comebacks before. Around this time last season the Washington Justice began to thrive during the implementation of the 2-2-2 role lock.