There has been utter chaos on the internet since Optic Gaming’s captain Joe “Merk” Deluca was suddenly dropped from the pro roster, and people have remained pretty confused as to why the change happened. Obviously we don’t see everything that happens behind the scenes, and I knew that there would be a bit of a rocky patch once the guys moved into the house together. It’s just inevitable! Things are completely different when you play and compete together versus when you add living together into the final equation.
It seems that Merk was just trapped in a negative mindset and there was no immediate fix, and it was negatively affecting the team and brand. It’s a shame since there seems to be some bitterness, and it’s obvious that this decision wasn’t mutual and it wasn’t altogether peaceful. I get the impression that Joey (Merk) has been going through a bit of a personal rut, whether that stems from depression, I can’t say since I don’t have any insight. But it sucks! As someone that has experienced depression and continues to fall into some rough patches, I know that this drop can’t have helped Merk’s stability. I feel like I can at least somewhat empathize with his situation. But that kind of a mindset does affect the people around you, and if the guys at the house indeed tried to help with no success, then I kind of understand their decision.
The guys in the Optic house may be friends, but ultimately the team is part of a business. If the business starts to suffer then changes have to be made. It hurts to see this happen because we, as fans, do become attached to certain people on a certain team. Change is tough, but this is a part of the eSports environment. Rosters will inevitably change. This most likely won’t be the last roster change we see from Optic.
However, I wish Merk the best in his endeavors and I hope he does continue to play Call of Duty competitively. I’m excited to see JKap return to the Optic roster as well. The rest of the year in Call of Duty eSports is going to be a wild one, and I’m looking forward to seeing who the 4th for EnvyUs and Impact will be.
With Merk officially dropped, BigTymer has stepped in as Optic’s new captain and JKap (formerly from EnvyUs) will fill Merk’s role.
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