Fired LoL coach ‘literally asked everyone for money’, says ex-pro
North American esports organization Team SoloMid (TSM) fired its League of Legends coach and head of player development, Zhang ‘Peter Zhang’ Yi, on March 18. Yi had been with the team for over a year and over the course of his ten-year career. in LoL esports, also worked with Team Liquid, Echo Fox and LMQ.
TSM’s statement on the dismissal, posted on its various social media channels, is as clinical as it gets:
“We have recently been made aware of very serious allegations of conflict of interest and unethical practices against League of Legends Coach Peter Zhang. After an initial investigation, we have terminated him effective immediately. We are working with outside legal counsel to complete a full investigation.”
Over the next few days, TSM remained silent, but several other parties did not. Most notably, this includes Yiliang ‘DoubleLift’ Peng, who is now retired but widely regarded as the greatest NA LoL player of all time. DoubleLift spent most of his career at TSM before his association with the team ended in November 2021 with some degree of acrimony and public recrimination, so keep in mind this guy already has beef. with the team. That said, most of his claims are first-hand and absolutely mind-blowing.
During a recent Twitch stream, DoubleLift claims that Zhang asked him for $70,000 to cover hospital treatment for a relative. “He asked me to loan him $70,000,” DoubleLift says. “He said his grandmother had cancer and was dying in the hospital. He has to pay the hospital bill, which is $70,000, and he hasn’t heard yet. money, but he’ll get it at the end of the month and then he’ll pay me back.”
Suspecting the request from someone he didn’t know well, DoubleLift asked other TSM members to see if Zhang had tried something similar.
“Without naming names, this guy literally asked everyone for money, and the story was different every time,” DoubleLift said. “So he told me he needed 70K, he told someone else he needed 200K, he told someone else he didn’t need that’s 10K.For me he told me his grandma needed an operation, for someone else he told them his grandma needed stem cell therapy […] for someone else, he told them medicine.”
DoubleLift adds that it occurred to them that China has a public healthcare system – nothing adds up. The player goes on to make other unsubstantiated claims about Zhang’s habits, but the allegation that Zhang directly asked DoubleLift (who had a lucrative career) for $70,000 is startling in itself.
Initial speculation about Zhang’s departure had focused on match-fixing and gambling (an ongoing problem for competitive LoL), but League Championship Series commissioner Jacki Felling got into a thread. dismissal discussion to write:
“Nothing to do with match-fixing. This is an internal team matter. I’m not making any statements from Riot, but I don’t want people to think it has anything to do with match-fixing. or betting, which is not the case.”
Yi himself would later post on the TSM Discord, writing, “I will not post or comment on this news. It has nothing to do with match-fixing in the game. This is a very hard lesson for me. “
In addition to Doublelift’s claims, a new Dexerto report contains allegations that Yi used his position to skim player salaries: essentially using his coaching position to also play as an agent, offering potential talent a place in the list in exchange for a reduction in their income. . This report also confirms what DoubleLift said about Yi asking players for big loans.
Dexerto managed to track down Yi, who is currently in the process of returning to China, and his defense raises even more eyebrows. The story now comes to involve Yi exchanging money from Yuen to dollars, his grandmother’s surgery and a Mercedes sold in China in the name of a former player called SwordArT – whose money Yi had kept .
“I recognize that keeping the money [from the sold car] was wrong, but I was working to pay off that debt and I paid half of it before I was fired,” Yi says. “My grandmother’s bill was due at the end of this month so I couldn’t pay both debts. I was struggling financially but I will repay every penny to SwordArT. The other allegations against me are not true. It is common in China for friends and colleagues to lend each other money. I learned a hard lesson about cultural differences in America. I will work with Riot in any investigation and will have the necessary evidence to prove my innocence.”
TSM declines to comment beyond its initial statement, which comes as no surprise when outside legal counsel is suddenly involved.
There’s more talk about Zhang on the DoubleLift stream and everything he may have done, but the former pro summed up his point most succinctly when he said, “It’s Sky Williams’ level of ‘never let that person borrow money’, because you ‘I’m just donating to them.’