Additional reporting and translation: Pedro Romero
An ex-player from E-XOLOS LAZER spoke out publicly about his experience with the organization and how they’d broken promises, delayed payments, and exploited players. BandiCoot had been part of the organization for a year between Jan 2022-2023.
The organization was a part of the VCT LATAM circuit last year. Here’s what Bandicoot had to say.
Issues with the contract:
BandiCoot reached an agreement with E-XOLOS LAZER that he regrets having signed. He spoke about the pressure he faced to sign it and the extreme aspects of the contract.
One night, before the team returned home from competing, Rex, the esports team’s founder, approached the team to sign the contracts the org made; even though they had little time to read them. Seeing as they would be bound to an exploitative contract that contained super aggressive clauses and unspecified amounts, the team initially declined to sign them, which prompted Rex to say if they didn’t sign, they wouldn’t be paid; even after the ensuing month passed.
Sometime later, the team contacted a lawyer who advised them on the positives and negatives he identified while surveying the contract. From there, the lawyer created a new contract, one that featured his corrections. The players took that new contract and presented it to LAZER’s lawyers and management team in a meeting, but it was difficult for both parties to reach an agreement as Rex said he didn’t know anything about having them sign the contracts he presented. BandiCoot said he and the team let the issue go since they were focused on the season and the team itself.
Fake promises of a bootcamp:
The players were promised on several occasions that they would be given a bootcamp. They were told they would be able to live in the Estadio Caliente (Xolos’ football stadium, where its' Mexican league team plays) and receive various accommodations like a food buffet, a gym, and much more. Despite being told of the planned bootcamp two or three times, and even provided dates for when they would travel to the stadium, the plans were canceled at the last minute. The problem, according to BandiCoot, lies more in the fact that they promised things that were never done, as opposed to them not being able to get them done.
Prize pools weren’t paid out on time:
One of the biggest issues was the lack of payment of prize pool sums to players. BandiCoot said he had to ask for it many times after the competitive year ended and colleagues from other teams had received their prize money two months ago or even earlier. Fortunately, BandiCoot and his teammates, after speaking with Tigre Hank, the son of Jorge Hank Rhon (owner of the Xolos football team), finally received their due payments on August 24. BandiCoot also mentioned he sent screenshots of a discussion with Rex about all the bad stuff happening within the team to Tigre, provided as links below.
Ending the competitive year:
When the players returned from playing in the LCQ, they had about two months of absolutely no communication with the team management. The management told the players that the team would continue but they made no concrete assurance. Rumors were circulating that people had left or stayed but there was a great deal of uncertainty. Nevertheless, the organization promised the players that they would fulfill their obligations in terms of finishing the contract and paying them until the last day.
Even after BandiCoot said that he did not want to stay on the team, he recapitulated and was willing to continue with them. However, it was at this point that the issues began once again. The players were paid monthly but the organization began delaying payments by 15 days in each subsequent month. BandiCoot said this was a headache since it was his first year living alone and he had not kept savings for emergencies, so the players had to solve it in one way or another by asking for loans with the fear of not knowing if they were going to pay that amount back with what they were owed by the team.
It should be noted that XOLOS never really accepted the blame for the problems, and they always washed their hands of the issue. This was while BandiCoot was talking to XOLOS through email since it was the only way to contact them, only for them to not reply. BandiCoot then said Rex asked him why he was sending email messages for the sake of spreading lies, otherwise, he can wait to receive his due payments, roughly one and a half months after the scheduled date. Both the manager and sports director failed to give concrete answers about due payments and Rex just washed his hands of the problem, saying it was XOLO’s fault.
Further screenshots from BandiCoot corroborating this are provided below.
Contract jailing and withholding payments:
Around the time Riot announced the partnered leagues for the VCT in 2023, the team had a conversation and told Rex their intentions of not continuing with the Xolos org. Two members of the team received offers and the subsequent management of their existence was terrible, BandiCoot says. Despite them promising they would facilitate their moves if a franchised team came for members of the Xolos lineup. From then on, if a team approached Xolos for one of their players, they would ask for an absurdly high amount, prompting the interested party to back out.
In light of this, BandiCoot and Jfoen tried talking to Xolos to reach an agreement so they could leave since the org said if they did, they would have to be on the bench for next year due to breaching a clause in the contract. BandiCoot agreed to stay with Xolos without being paid for November or December in exchange for terminating the contract without the non-compete clause.
After the organization accepted the terms, Xolos told BandiCoot he also had to receive a termination letter which ultimately never arrived despite being requested several times. As a result, the player had to wait until the contract expired on December 31. For this reason, the contract made it legally impossible for him and the players to sign with any other team until the end date of the contract.
BandiCoot provided us with some audio of their discussions, accessible here.
BandiCoot mentioned when he posted subtweets towards the organization, two people from XOLO messaged him asking if he was owed something. BandiCoot then cited the situation he endured where, as a result of the org not fulfilling their side of the contract, he had to survive for two months without pay in the best way he could. When he asked them for the remaining payment dues – which amounted to $1600 – the team manager responded with threats that BandiCoot couldn’t say anything about XOLO for a year, which BandiCoot said was a lie.
BandiCoot mentioned he was speaking out about all this since it’s necessary to come clean to the community so that things can start anew. He also called the last year with XOLO a year of chaos and said that every player with the org has things to say, but it would be up to them whether they’d speak up too or not.
Exploitation in esports has been a thing for several years now, with players being held in contract jails or just not being paid what they were promised. Hopefully, someday, organizations can treat players better.