There’s been no shortage of player and coaches blaming Fortnite for their team’s misfortunes, but Carlos Santana just upped the ante. The former Phillies’ star is claiming the team’s late-season slump was caused by the game, and even further that his teammates were playing during games.
Santana refused to name names, but said Fortnite was the cause of the problems in the dugout, telling ESPN.
“I see a couple players — I don’t want to say names — they play video games during the game,” Santana told ESPN. “We come and lose too many games, and I feel like they weren’t worried about it. Weren’t respecting their teammates or coaches or the staff or the [front] office. It’s not my personality. But I’m angry because I want to make it good.”
Santana’s frustration with his teammates playing Fortnite went so far as to push him to bringing his bat into the clubhouse and smashing a TV players used to play. Players still on the Phillies roster aren’t denying there were issues with focus down the stretch, but stopped short of blaming it on Fortnite.
“You have to set certain rules and boundaries,” veteran starter Jake Arrieta, one of the players involved in setting the new standards, told ESPN. “At a certain point, your focus needs to shift toward preparing for the game. And some people like to lock in on their phone and watch a show. I’m OK with that. I really don’t care if you want to play Fortnite up to a half-hour before the game. If that’s what locks you in, I don’t mind that. But during the game? That’s a different story.”
This isn’t the first story of Fortnite being pointed to as a cause of a team’s issues. In February, Knicks head coach David Fizdale blamed the game for his team’s problems during the season, citing late nights and blue light as a reason his players were lacking energy during games.
It remains to be seen whether teams will push to ban Fortnite in their lockers rooms and club houses. Some remain resolute that playing the game allows players to unwind or get locked in, with the added benefit of keeping players in their rooms during road trips vs. going out and partying, but to some, like Santana, their love of the game has gone too far.
“I don’t know what happened,” he said, “but I’ve never seen that in my life — during the game, playing video games. It’s not professional. Each team is everybody all together. I understand we’re eliminated for the season, but you have to have pride. There’s 25 men on the roster. We have to stay on the same page. When I see what happened, I was a little bit frustrated.”
Arrieta claims he knew of the mid-game Fortnite sessions, but said they only happened “a couple of times.”