Addressing CRL China Allegations


A few hours ago, Karnage, a former Nova CRL Player, leveled a number of allegations against Nova Esports, our staff, and our Players. We do not take these allegations lightly and after our initial investigation, have found them to be significant mischaracterizations at best, and blatantly false, unfounded statements at worst.  Karnage’s statements are damaging and hurtful, and unfortunately appear to be rooted in a place of hate that is not reflective of the positive relationship we had with him until today.

Until mid April, Nova and Karnage were deep in discussions about Karnage re-signing with Nova for CRL China Season 3. Karnage was very eager to join, and actively pursued this to a significant extent. SEE SCREENSHOTS. During these conversations Karnage requested another player who was a friend of his be brought to China as well. While we were hesitant to do so, we ultimately agreed to it to alleviate some of the stresses of a foreign player being in a place as different as China. We agreed to all the core terms and issued a full player contract for Karnage, however were awaiting on visa approval to fully sign and execute it. Karnage ultimately told us he was denied his visa SCREENSHOT (added in update), however refused to provide any proof of this. While he was under no obligation to provide this proof, we felt he may have been untruthful in his claim of visa denial, and was using it to maintain his relationship with Nova while pursuing another organization with which he has now signed — Update this has been confirmed by Karnage’s public statements SCREENSHOTS. Regardless, Karnage maintained a positive relationship with Nova until today, when we decided to part ways with him for ladder competitive play due to account sharing and substantial dishonesty. As a response, Karnage said that he would “Start with the ruin the career of Nova.SEE SCREENSHOT.

Karnage’s allegations are numerous, and we feel that the best way to address them is systematically one by one, and with all the evidence we can compile in this short time. While we do not have screenshots to counter every claim, what is provided below should be sufficient to cast doubt on the whole of Karnage’s statement.

This kind of statement is not one that we ever want to have to make, particularly given that it forces us to speak on confidential matters and share private conversations. These are meant to stay private out of respect to our players and staff, however this situation has unfortunately necessitated their release. We hope that our fans can take a critical look at the truthfulness of the allegations made against us, and the motivations behind them.

CLAIM: Nova contracts are “illegal” - Paypal is used for salary.

While we will not discuss individual contract and administrative matters that are meant to stay confidential based on Nova’s agreement with the player, Nova player contracts certainly are legally binding agreements in line with industry standards. Prior to signing we ensure players fully understand their individual Agreement, and do clause-by-clause walkthroughs of the Agreement whenever possible. Younger players are always encouraged and required to have their parents review the Agreement, and we work collaboratively with all parties involved to ensure the player understands what they are signing, and make modifications until the player is comfortable with all that the Agreement entails. In the case of players who are minors, we require video proof of their legal guardian actively signing the contract, or otherwise acknowledging they are aware of and agree to it. Karnage fulfilled this requirement (this will not be shared for his and his guardian’s privacy). Regarding payment method, Nova has always prided itself on our global diversity, however with this comes administrative challenges. To accommodate the international nature of our players, we make payments through a variety of methods, based on what is best suited to each individual, and in many cases this means using Paypal.

CLAIM: Karnage was in “inhumane living conditions”.

We’re sorry to hear that Karnage wasn’t satisfied with his living conditions. In CRL Season 2 every player had a room to himself, and we’d encourage anyone curious to view these videos and judge for themselves. During his time with Nova, Karnage only had 2 concerns he expressed: 1) He said that his mattress was too hard and uncomfortable; to remedy this Nova staff purchased him a new bed. 2) Another player did enter Karnage’s room and use the bathroom; a maid was brought in to clean, and nova staff had a discussion with the player to explain why this was inappropriate, and ensure there were no subsequent issues. Contrary to what Karnage has expressed in his statement, we were wary of the potential for a foreign player coming to China and experiencing such a different environment, and as such Nova staff made special efforts to ensure his experience was a positive one, such as this mini welcome gift.

CLAIM: Fellow teammate, Legend, was “marginalized”, he was often alone and unhappy. He was scammed and paid an unfair salary.

This is distressing to hear as we always want our players to have a positive experience both on and off the stage with Nova. Legend never personally expressed any concerns to the management team or the direct Nova staff living with the players, and quite to the contrary communicated he was happy with his Nova experience, and was close to a number of players and staff. SEE SCREENSHOTS. Regarding salary, we don’t publicly discuss player salaries in any way and we feel it is inappropriate for any player or teammate to do so, however we will say that Karnage’s statement on Legend’s wage is not factually correct.

CLAIM: Sergio was left out of CRL worlds after “everything he did for Nova”, and wasn’t paid.

While we know Sergio is fan favourite, rostering decisions is a topic that we reserve for internal discussions, and are made by our experienced coaching staff. At the end of the day, Nova was only allowed to roster 5 players for CRL worlds, and we fielded the roster that we felt would perform the best in that extremely competitive environment, and were rewarded with a world championship. As far as we are aware there have not been any issues with payments for Sergio Ramos, and there are no payments pending.

CLAIM: Karnage didn’t receive any money from CRL China.

Internal prize distributions is another internal, private matter, however company policy is to distribute prize money 1) based on contractual obligations and 2) based on individual player contributions to the success of the team. Further, we have not yet distributed payments for CRL China and have been working to finalize distributions this week.

CLAIM: Nova staff treated Karnage poorly.

We’re sorry to hear that Karnage had a bad experience with some of Nova’s staff. After investigating this internally and reviewing conversation logs, we’ve found that our staff member has always been an exceptionally supportive figure in Karnage’s career and that their relationship seems only to have eroded after it came to light that Karnage was being dishonest and not adequately fulfilling his obligations to Nova. Based on our review, the Nova staff member referenced went above and beyond in his interactions with Karnage. Please see the first screenshots attached for an example.

CLAIM: Karnage wanted to join Nova but had concerns about the visa process.

Visas are certainly a complicated matter and one which is compounded by being the only organization to bring foreign players into CRL China, however contrary to what Karnage has stated, he expressed no concerns regarding visas in china and actually encouraged Nova to pursue whatever means necessary for him to join the team. SEE SCREENSHOT.

CLAIM: The Nova office is “disgusting” and you have to be there for 8 hours for contract obligations.

We’re sorry Karnage wasn’t satisfied with the office. Here’s a PHOTO of it for reference. It’s certainly a bit messy, but we’ll work on that! In terms of 8 hours a day at the office, this is one we’ll own up to; competing at the top level does in fact mean practicing and working hard.

CLAIM: All the players train together, but not with foreigners, and as such Sergio and Karnage were stuck together.

A large part of Nova’s competitive success has come from our philosophies and practices behind training, and these were even more important in the incredibly competitive CRL China landscape. That said, we felt strongly that our CRL roster should be representative of the extensive global fan base we have, and as such should include foreign players, even though we were the only CRL China team to do so. With this came some barriers, such as language, cultural differences, and simply the tendency to for a person to gravitate towards other with whom they have more in common. Karnage practicing primarily with Sergio is not something Nova staff intentionally implemented, but rather a natural result of being in an unfamiliar place, and having the most in common with a specific other person. Accommodating our foreign players is something important to us, and challenge that we continue to face and try to work through.

CLAIM: Karnage and Sergio “always won against the other players” but were never put in for games.

As previously mentioned, rostering and play time decisions are meant to be kept internal, and left in the trusted hands of Nova coaching staff. We always strive to put the best competitive foot forwards, and our decisions are made accordingly. While we can’t comment on specific internal win rates, the players that saw the stage always represented those that we felt were most deserving of it.

CLAIM: At CRL worlds, all players were given phones except Karnage.

As per this SCREENSHOT, Karnage was shipped the google phone that the team would be competing using at worlds. Unfortunately due to shipping issues, he never received it and it was returned to Shanghai after some time. Nova incurred approximately $300 USD in shipping costs trying to get it to Karnage.

CLAIM: The CRL Team was allied with OP Elite, whom they trained and win-traded with.

Nova certainly had a closer relationship with OP Elite than some other teams, primarily due to the convenience of our team houses being nearby. However, this relationship was only ever used to provide players with different scrimmage partners and further facilitate Nova CRL’s training and development. We care deeply about competitive integrity, and always strive to win based on our own competitive merits. We believe this was reflected in Nova CRL taking home the world championship. *OP Gaming was previously referenced here in error, and has been corrected to OP Elite.

Nova is committed to treating all our players with the respect they are owed, and support them in all their competitive pursuits. We may stumble at times, however we will keep working in our relentless pursuit of being the best we can be for our fans, and for our players who put their trust in us. We are hurt by Karnage’s mis-characterization of a relationship that was largely a positive one, and hope that this can be resolved quickly for all parties involved.

This statement in no way waives or sufficiently remedies any damages caused in whole or in part by any parties referenced, and Nova eSports (Hong Kong) Limited reserves the right to pursue damages pursuant to the Agreements the referenced parties have entered into.

Nova eSports