The Dallas Empire on Tuesday released three-time Call of Duty world champion James “Clayster” Eubanks, two days after he helped the Empire win the inaugural Call of Duty League championship and a day after the league announced it is moving to a four vs. four format for next season.
In announcing the move on TwitLonger on Tuesday, the 28-year-old Clayster was effusive in his praise and appreciation for his teammates and Team Envy (the parent company of the Empire).
“I genuinely hold nothing against the org or the players,” Clayster wrote. “Shoutout to everyone over on the Dallas Empire for making it feel like home. I was beyond happy to represent Texas and live my legitimate childhood dream, and I can’t thank all the staff and players from top to bottom for making it feel like a family.
“Only can blame myself for not doing more to secure my spot and the league for making this decision,” he added. “Pretty heartbroken with how things turned out, got about 24 hours of happiness before I got thrown back into the blender, but that’s the story of my career.”
In speaking with the media Monday, the Empire players lamented the move from the five vs. five format used this season, with Clayster and fellow three-time world champion Ian “Crimsix” Porter being the most outspoken.
Team owner Mike “Hastr0” Rufail also said he was against the decision that essentially forces each team to cut loose at least one player. And on Tuesday he reinforced his contention that the change to 4v4 was the only reason the Empire let Clayster go.
“If we were still 5v5, I’d be trying to sign this guy to a 4 year contract extension right now. Damn, I’m going to miss you dude,” Hastr0 tweeted.
In calling himself a “restricted free agent” in his initial tweet announcing the move, Clayster appears to indicate the Empire will hold the right to match any offer Clayster takes from another team, which would put him back on the Empire’s roster and make him (or one of the four players the club retained) a substitute.
“In terms of how players and pros think of you when you’re sitting on the bench, it really can kill your momentum that you have going for your career,” Clayster said during Monday’s news conference, adding, “I would love if we could figure out a way to make it work and destigmatize that. … But no pro team has really tried to do it too much yet.”
–Field Level Media