Team SMG part ways with ninjaboogie days after his mom's death

Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross said he was kicked from Team SMG because the team thought his mother's recent passing would have affected his performance. (Photo: Team SMG)

Team SMG announced on Friday (20 May) that they have parted ways with Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross, who claims he was kicked by the team because of an assumption that his mother's recent passing would affect his performance.

In Team SMG's Twitter announcement of ninjaboogie's departure from the team, the player posted a reply telling the organisation that they should state "the real reason" he was kicked.

Ninjaboogie then said in a post on his personal Twitter account that he was kicked "because my mom was on her last days and [Team SMG] assumed it would affect my performance".

"I already knew for some time that this day will come since she had stage 4 cancer. She passed away on Monday," said ninjaboogie. "Imagine being fired from a job because you are about to lose a loved one."

Ninjaboogie further explained that he was supposed to fly from his home country of the Philippines to join Team SMG on 14 May when his mother was admitted to a hospital on 12 May due to a stroke.

The player said that he asked if his flight could be moved as Team SMG's bootcamp was scheduled to start on 20 May.

Ninjaboogie added that he was called by now-former teammate Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng on 14 May to ask about his decision to fly to the Team SMG bootcamp.

In an alleged screenshot of his conversation with MidOne, ninjaboogie told his now-former teammate that he "can't leave [his mother] at a critical time like this" even as relatives were urging him to go.

The former Team SMG player added that leaving as his mother was dying would make him see himself as a "failure as a son".

Ninjaboogie then said that, following his decision to stay in the Philippines to be with his mother, the team had a meeting without him and informed him that they "were going to continue without me".

Team SMG have yet to issue any further statements on ninjaboogie's departure from the team and the circumstances surrounding it following the player's claims.

Ninjaboogie was a member of Team SMG's first Dota 2 roster, which was announced in January 2021. He left the team after just three months after they failed to qualify for Division II of the Southeast Asian regional league in the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season.

Ninjaboogie rejoined Team SMG in February this year, helping the team finish in sixth place at the 2021-DPC Spring Tour regional league for Southeast Asia. The Summer Tour, for which Team SMG was having a bootcamp, was scheduled to start in early June.

Ninjaboogie is veteran of the Southeast Asian Dota 2 scene and one of the most experienced players from the Philippines, having previously played for the likes of Execration, Mineski, and TNC Predator.

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