At only 21 years old, Turner “Tfue” Tenney wants out of FaZe and can build an empire if he sticks to a game plan.
*This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Why TFUE Holds The Aces And Will Have The Last Laugh
If you are reading this, then you are aware of the drama going down between Tfue and FaZe Clan. I won’t get into lawsuit details, you can read them here. Although most of the drama comes from teenagers reading social media, this article will shine some light on some things that some fans don’t understand. If you missed day 1 events, click here.
Quick Recap of Tfue VS FaZe Clan
- Tfue wants out of FaZe.
- His lawsuit goes viral on Monday, May 20th.
- The gaming world is shocked by the claims in the lawsuit.
- Most notable claims, that seem to be hitting the hardest are unfair revenue split and underage drinking at the FaZe house.
- FaZe clan owner, Ricky Banks, immediately takes to social media with a flurry of tweets
- Banks is proving innocence, stating FaZe has only collected a fraction of revenue, $60K, from Tfue since the beginning of the contract.
- FaZe Banks releases an emotional Youtube video explaining his feelings of betrayal, pouring his heart out on how his hard work helped Tfue rise to stardom.
As the day fizzled out, more and more people in the community were sitting back and not jumping to conclusions. FaZe Clan saw an inpour of love and support. FaZe Banks is still heartbroken due to the blind-sighted lawsuit.
Family first pic.twitter.com/iKISkZNktn
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) May 21, 2019
The Early Outcome
After the first 24 hours, most of the gaming world is siding with Banks, labeling Tfue a “snake“. Tfue lost Youtube/Twitch subs, as social media is pleading and waiting for him to come forward with his side of the story.
Why TFUE is Winning
Before picking a side, one must clear their mind and look at the bigger picture. Tfue, is 21 years old, and, whether he was influenced by his peers or not, presumably wants out of the FaZe contract prematurely. If this was a high profile sports athlete, contracts can be restructured; it happens all the time.
- So how does a 21-year-old get out of a signed 3-year contract? You hire lawyers, who will dissect the contract to try and find the smallest loophole to plead their case. This means getting their client, TFUE, to give them any details they can use in their favor. Is everything they claim going to be true? Probably not, but the more you put in your defense, the better your chances are. This is how lawyers work. They play hardball, will do whatever it takes to give their client a chance. These are not Tfue’s ideas, these are his lawyers digging for any type of angles they can find and add to the lawsuit (as I assume after doing my own research).
- Banks going on a public rant might look good at first, standing up for his company, but the smarter thing would have been to be silent. His FaZe members, consisting of high profile players and streamers vouching for the organization would have been good enough to hold the trust until a legal decision is made. Banks’ emotions got the best of him, and although that’s what his fans love about it him, it wasn’t the best decision to speak out (although I too admire and appreciate his passion. We are human after all).
As for Tfue, he released a very short, to the point, statement. You could see in the video, that Tfue is reading a script with it calling FaZe out to show the world the contract. In the end, let the lawyers do their job and follow their lead. The goal is to get out of his FaZe contract, then be silent and let justice decide for you. No reason to explain if you are paying lawyers to do it for you. It sucks to hear it, but this is the right way of going about business.
Was TFUE Really Happy?
Banks has made it clear that he and FaZe are major reasons Tfue is where he is today. There is no doubt Banks was the mastermind behind Tfue’s Youtube growth. From catchy titles and thumbnails to Tfue vlogs that exploded in popularity. This was all Banks as Tfue learned and profited from it. As good as it might seem, is this what Tfue truly wanted?
Banks goes on to show clips of Tfue, clearly onboard for the vlogging ride. From tattoos to influencing others to jump off bridges, ACTION is what brings views and is what keeps people coming back for more. This is what Banks has learned from social media and Youtube and this is what TFUE followed. Tfue’s bread and butter was being one of the best Fortnite players in the world. Banks helped him get maximum exposure, but in the end, it’s his gaming skills people tune into. His vlogs and wildlife come second.
If Tfue was truly happy in FaZe, he would have stayed in LA where he would have it all. So why the move back home to his small room in Florida? He could stream in LA and continue to grow his vlog and earn even more? He made it very clear why he chose to go back home and continue to do what he is comfortable with and good at.
Why Tfue Is Making The Right Decision
Is Tfue selfish, a snake and a backstabber? That’s up to the community to decide. But guess what, that’s business and if he wants to grow his own brand and an empire, he needs to free himself of FaZe and this means not waiting 2 more years. People love money gossip. From family to celebrities, its always the first topic of conversation. No matter how much Tfue has earned for himself and shared (or not shared with FaZe), it does not compare to what he can possibly earn in the future if he is free to make his own decisions. Things can change very quickly. You’re at the top one day and falter the next. People seem to dismiss this because they live in the moment.
The time is now for Tfue to take it to the next level, and being part of FaZe is what’s holding him back. If Tfue fulfills his contract obligations with FaZe (which Banks made is very clear there was hardly any constraints), then he would be leaving FaZe in two years. But given how fast things change in this space, we might see 5 more Tfues make it onto the scene, thus, stealing the spotlight from him. Or, anything can happen in two years (health, mental game, etc…). So as the saying goes, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. Tfue needs to jump on his fame now and take advantage.
Building a Brand
Tfue has no personal brand identity at the moment. He has no official logo, no merch, no big company deals, nothing. Yet, he is one of the most popular gamers in the world right now. Someone made him open his eyes that he needs to take his game to the next level. And taking it to the next level is not a Youtube vlog, it’s big-time brand deals. Who’s to say he does not shift his content with a more family-friendly front like Ninja did, making big-name brands approach him with lucrative deals? Ninja, Dr Disrespect, and Shroud are just some of the popular streamers in the world who have their own brand identity and haven’t dedicated themselves to an esports organization. So why wouldn’t Tfue want to do the same thing, especially since he’s close to passing Shroud for #2 spot overall for most Twitch followers.
It’s unfortunate what has happened, as there are many fans like myself who liked seeing the combination of Tfue and FaZe Clan. It was a match made in heaven. I’m not sure what the outcome will be. But it’s sad to see that it this point. Seeing FaZe Banks blindsided was also hard to see. Understanding what he’s done for his organization will make you share the same sentiment. I am hoping for something good to come out of this for both parties, but I’m afraid that will be wishful thinking.