Esports Player Claims He Was Booted From Team Due to Mom’s Stage IV Cancer

An Esports player has claimed that his club fired him due to his performance in relation to his mother’s stage IV cancer.

The Esports, or electronic sports, gamer Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross tweeted today that his club, Team SMG, gave him the boot “because my mom was on her last days and they assumed it would affect my performance.”

He said that due to her diagnosis, he anticipated her death for a while. She died on Monday.

“Imagine being fired from a job because you are about to lose a loved one,” concluded the tweet, which has been liked over 17,000 times.

According to its website, Team SMG stands for “Still Moving Under Gunfire” and was established in 2017 as a premiere Esports organization in Asia. Teams are present in China and southeast Asia, including DOTA2 and PUB G teams in Malaysia.

The team also tweeted today in regards to Ross’ departure.

“We would like to thank @ninjaboogie for his enthusiasm, hard work, and dedication for Team SMG during our time together,” the tweet says. “Today, we part ways. Thank you Ninjaboogie. Keep Boogieing, even under gunfire.”

Multiple replies to that tweet referenced Ross’ version of how the split occurred, with many calling out Team SMG for ignoring the elephant in the room.

“Y’all going to address the rumors going around about why y’all kicked (Ross)?” one tweet said.

Esports Tourney
Marcus “Afro” Reid of London Royal Ravens during the Call of Duty League Pro-Am Classic on May 06, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Another gamer, Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross, was allegedly fired from his squad, Team SMG, in relation to his mother’s cancer diagnosis.
Joe Brady

In subsequent tweets, Ross provided a further explanation by saying he intended to fly back and join his team on May 14. However, due to a stroke his mother suffered on May 12, he inquired whether he could fly out on May 20 instead.

He said a team associate, Midone, called him on May 14 “asking my decision.” Ross posted a screenshot of a text.

“The outcome can only be two things: She’s OK for the meanwhile or she sadly passed away due to complications…I’m certain I want to play and regardless of the outcome my motivation will not waver (sic),” he wrote in a long text to the team official.

Leaving his mother would make him feel like “a failure of a son,” Ross added before saying he hoped the decision was to Midone’s liking.

“What I also don’t understand is that they clearly care more about business than their team members,” a user tweeted to Ross. “Considering that, did they not think this would cause a huge amount of social and potential financial backlash once it got out what they did?”

The tweet has also exploded on Reddit, where it has been upvoted over 108,000 times in the r/MildlyInfuriating forum. One user said “a leave of absence would have been more appropriate,” while another said Team SMG’s response is “scummy.”

“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” a user commented. “Even Walmart gives at least three days paid bereavement. They couldn’t let you have one.”

Newsweek reached out to Ross and Team SMG, the latter of which has not issued any additional public statements regarding Ross’ departure.

DOT Sports reported that Ross rejoined his original squad in February after a competitive hiatus from the game DOTA.

Esports: a booming billion-dollar industry

Insider Intelligence estimates there will be 29.6 million monthly Esports viewers in the U.S. this year alone, which would translate to an 11.5 percent increase compared to 2021.

That has also meant more money being thrown around for a “sport” that is viewed as popular as most major American sports leagues, sans the NFL and its huge audience.

Deloitte reported a doubled year-over-year growth of Esports investments, from 34 in 2017 to 68 in 2018. That equates to an approximate jump from $490 million in investments to a whopping $4.5 billion—a growth rate of 837 percent.

Ninja tops the Twitch platform with about 17 million streamers. According to, only one female streamer cracks Twitch’s top 20.

In other Esports news, game publisher Riot Games has agreed to pay $100 million to former employees that sued the company for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and disparity.

And a son shot his mom on Mother’s day this year over an Xbox controller that he had gifted her.

And a man who brought his gaming console to the hospital during the birth of his child sparked a debate on the internet.

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