On October 9th, Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao posted a lengthy, scathing condemnation of his previous captain, Team Secret founder Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, who up until the release of the blog was probably one of Dota 2’s most beloved figures. This is the man of legendary Dendi/Puppey bromance fame, a captain whom Artour “Arteezy” Babaev liked enough to play with twice. Since the Bloggening, fans have struggled to reconcile the Puppey they thought they knew with the one seen in Envy’s chat logs, a Bizarro-world Puppey who threatened physical altercations, ranted and raved, and concealed from his players important elements of their (sigh) verbal contracts, most damningly a 10% prize winnings cut.
There’s no arguing that Puppey fucked up.
Of course, the reality probably isn’t as cut-and-dry as people would like to believe; nobody is wholly good or evil, and the best answer to the question “Is Puppey a good guy or a bad guy?” is probably “yes.” There’s no arguing that Puppey—through some combination of laziness, incompetence, and, yes, potentially malice—fucked up. He didn’t communicate important details, he said unacceptable things, he was generally just an asshole. But Envy was obviously incentivized to pick out the details that supported his side of the story.
By telling his side and earnestly apologizing for the things he screwed up, Puppey could probably have won back the hearts and minds of many in the Dota 2 community. Instead he posted this, quite possibly the worst “apology” of all time. Below, we’ll break down exactly where and how Puppey’s response went wrong.
I’m not getting into a war of words. [An explanation doesn’t have to add more fuel to the fire; it is in fact possible to address allegations without launching any new ones, which I’d assume is what you mean by a “war of words.”] Those that know me well know that I’m not that person described and that’s good enough for me. [Clearly it’s not good enough, or you wouldn’t be posting this.] What I do want you to know is that I love Dota and I won’t stop trying to become the best Dota player out there. [Striking a tone of stubborn defiance is typically not the best approach in an apology. Also, no one is asking you to apologize for supposedly not loving Dota 2; your goals and desires are beside the point.] I cherish my teammates who stayed with me. [Another bad idea is to use your apology to take passive-aggressive digs at the people you’re supposed to be apologizing to.] Despite the drama, we still played great scrims, talking about the game and having a lot of fun. [Dismissing the allegations as “drama” only makes you sound guilty.] It made me feel alive again. [I think it may be a bit of an exaggeration to imply that Envy’s blog made you feel dead.] Thank you MP, Pieliedie, FoREv and MidOne. [To be honest, this is the strongest argument for a Puppey who still has a spark of good: these teammates must see something in him, or they would have left too.]
I don’t think it’s too late for Puppey to release an actual apology. Even if he’s convinced he didn’t do anything wrong, he still owes his tens of thousands of confused and hurt fans an explanation. And if he thinks the “drama” is going away on its own, he’s wrong; this will continue to color his reputation forever, not just in Twitch Chat but in every interview, profile, and public statement that concerns him. He can go the rest of his Dota 2 career as the Puppey we thought we knew and loved, but it won’t change the fact that whenever we look at him, we’ll see a man who cheated, threatened and bullied his teammates and refused to apologize for it.
(Oh, and don’t get me started on Team Secret’s latest post, a complete non-statement of chipper, vapid PR-drivel. The closest this mind-numbing “update” came to acknowledging the hurricane that Envy stirred up was a clause tacked to the end of one fluffy mumbo-jumbo sentence: “As a new team we’re determined to provide our players with the care and support that they deserve, whilst enabling them to share in the financial rewards from participating in some of the world’s largest tournaments and there’s obviously a cost in providing that support,” emphasis mine.)