Should Call Of Duty Players Start A Player Union?

Should Call Of Duty Players Start A Player Union?

Written by 

Jonno Nicholson


2nd Oct 2020 18:00

The concept of a player union in esports is nothing out of the ordinary. The idea of a dedicated committee aimed at protecting the interests of players seems like a very good one, but there are often several hurdles that need to be overcome when it comes to creating such a union.

The Call of Duty scene has been the place where on multiple occasions, organisations have often mistreated players and have even withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money and salaries.

With the esport entering a new era thanks to a transition into a geo-located franchised league, it was widely believed that the welfare of players would improve thanks to increased involvement from Activision. However, a case between a player and one of the 12 Call of Duty League franchises has prompted calls for a player union to be implemented in the not too distant future. Based on this particular instance, should Call of Duty players create a union?


A No-Brainer

Call Of Duty Player Union
Click to enlarge

Other esports such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have introduced player associations and unions in order to keep the interests and well-being of the players as a top priority. Over recent weeks, an exchange between Toronto Ultra player Carson “Brack” Newberry and the Ultra revealed that the franchise was withholding payments to the player, despite having granted compassionate leave to Brack.

While back at home, Brack had fallen ill and his doctor had instructed him not to travel back to Toronto. According to his side of the story, the Ultra had received this information but refused to pay him his wages, contrary to the Twitlonger statement published by the franchise.

This particular situation doesn’t look great for the Ultra, especially when it withheld payment from one of its players that was still under contract.

If a player union or a player association was in place with a neutral party as the head, this issue could have been resolved in private, as opposed to information spilling out onto social media. It’s disappointing to see a professional league deal with disagreements in this manner. Some form of union is an absolute necessity if similar issues occur in the future.

Who Would Be In Charge?

During a recent appearance on a podcast, Call of Duty veteran Ian “Crimsix” Porter revealed that the formation of a union is in the works. It’s certainly good news when it comes to looking out for the interests of the players, and may provide players with some form of leverage against the Call of Duty League. But who could spearhead such a union?

Considering how he leapt to the defence of his colleague when Toronto released its statement, Crimsix could be the perfect candidate for the job. Armed with a wealth of experience and a clear understanding of the current demands of a player, the North American veteran has all the qualifications to maintain the interests of the player. 

There are several other names that could be thrown into the ring too. OpTic Gaming Los Angeles player Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat has often played an instrumental role in creating a competitive ruleset and the infamous ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ to ensure the most competitive iteration of Call of Duty is being played at the highest level. Having an influential character as the head of the player union is key when it comes to dealing with conflict between players and the CDL, or players and a franchise. SlasheR and Crimsix would be ideal leaders for the union, which will hopefully come into force during the Black Ops Cold War season.

Is It Going To Happen?

The probability of a player union has been little to non-existent in recent years, but with the switch to franchising and an increased sense of professionalism in the competitive Call of Duty, the likelihood of a player union forming has never been higher.

According to Crimsix, the conflict between Brack and the Toronto Ultra is just one of “so much more” incidents that have taken place throughout the inaugural season of the league that have yet to surface.

Call Of Duty Player Union
Click to enlarge

With minimal details surrounding the starting date of the Black Ops Cold War season, now is the ideal time for players to unite and form a union to protect their welfare and best interests. There have been so many occasions where organisations have mistreated players in Call of Duty. Having entered a new era, it’s annoying to see issues between franchises and players take place and with no proper avenue for players to turn to. The creation of a player union to challenge franchises and even the governing body of the league has the potential to add another level of professionalism to an esport that has yet to reach its full potential.

Images via Reddit | Call of Duty League | MLG

Jonno is a freelance journalist at GGRecon, specialising in Call of Duty and its esports scene. His work can also be found on Esports Insider, Gfinity, Millenium, and a range of other esports publications.

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