“We Did Not Cheat Intentionally”, TonTons Flingueurs Release Statement and Apology
Word has recently been released that TonTons Flingueurs’ Loic Voulet (#25, back; 75 PBA rank) will serve a 3 match suspension due to multiple extreme velocity penalties assessed to his team during the Tontons vs Chicago Aftershock match. Up 3-0 with 17 min to play and seven seconds before the game began, the head referee sternly walked to the Tontons’ deadbox, measured all of the team’s guns and promptly threw two yellow flags and one red. Shortly after it was announced by PBA that one of the makers was found to be shooting 52 feet per second over the legal limit of 300fps, while the other two were shooting just over the legal limit. Chicago Aftershock’s markers were also tested and given two minor penalties for shooting hot.
We reached out to Team Captain Fabrice “Tavarez” Colombo regarding the situation. He provided us the following official statement from the TonTons organization.
Press Release TonTon
Firstly, I would like to apologize on behalf of the entire “Tonton” team for the events that took place at the PSP West Coast Open, and I need to express that it has all been blown completely out of proportions.
The TonTon team has existed for more than 21 years, and we have been playing at the highest level for most this time. This year we have decided to put all our efforts into playing the most challenging and difficult paintball league in the world, the PSP.
For us, playing the PSP means a lot of sacrifice, and this has only been possible with thanks to our sponsors, especially DYE, for whom we have the greatest respect.
The fact we are a team from Europe, the efforts we have to put in on a personal and financial level in order to play the PSP are enormous. We have had to put our jobs and family lives on hold to enable us to compete at this level, and for us to live our passion.
Considering our “Pro” status, that some people may consider our team “Privileged”, and even with the help from our sponsors, we still cannot meet the financial demands to play, but we do manage to compete.
For example, we must fit within our budget to travel a week before every event to work on the layout. This means that with the five PSP events, we spend one and a half months of the year in the USA. Plus bringing into account the cost of hotels, transport and food etc etc, our costs do mount high.
We also have players from 2 different countries, and that even the players themselves who do live in France live far away from each other too. Therefore, we have a reduced roster in order to fit this within our budget, and be able to play a entire season of PSP.
Secondly, on a personal level I have played for 2 years with the Philly Americans, and I know all too well how many sacrifices have to be made in order to play at a professional level, and in order to be able to play with and against the best.
After our “descent” into the Challengers divisions at the last PSP event, we really wanted to fight our way back into the Pro division and play the PSP World Cup 2013 in the Pro division. So we doubled our efforts in order to make this happen.
But not to the point where we would do anything ‘illegal’ to make this happen. We are not that stupid, to sacrifice all that I have mentioned above by cheating.
Our philosophy is and has always been to train harder, in order to be the best, NEVER to cheat.
I know, by experience, that whatever the nationality, there have always been suspicions towards Pro teams. And even more when an American team comes to play in Europe, or when an European team comes to play in the United States.
History has taught us that. Just look back, what were then just ‘rumors’, when Dynasty was dominating the Millennium, or when Joy Division was playing the NPPL….. In the end, the reality of these rumors was the level of skill of these teams on the field, and the fans that support their favourite teams that made the “myths”.
This sometimes leads to passionate debates, and exaggerated comments on any “incident ” about a team. This is part of the game, part of the sport, part of any sport. And in this way, it is also part of paintball.
As a Pro paintball team, we know this can happen in good and in bad “incidents”. And on this note, what pro player or pro team, has never been in this kind of situation?
The more you are exposed, the more you become vulnerable to these kind of outbursts.
That’s just the way it is.
So I digress, moving back to the basis of this letter, during our game against Aftershock, at the start of the 4th point, we had 4 guns that were shooting hot over the chrono. There is no doubt about it.
These are the FACTS and what really happened, and can be verified is on paintballaccess.
The first marker to be checked was Loic Voulot’s gun, he was chrono’d between 300 and 310 FPS. He received a minor penalty.
The second marker belonged to Axel Gaudin, whose gun chrono’d below 300 FPS.
The third marker belonged to Frank Chambon, and he was chrono’d at 317 FPS and he received a major penalty.
The fourth gun belongs to Karl Samuelson and was chrono’d at 304 FPS(he received a major in the confusion).
As for me, my gun was chrono’d at 307 FPS, and i received a minor penalty.
Loic Voulot’s marker was then re-checked and HIS FIRST SHOT ONLY was chrono’d at 323 FPS and later his gun was re-checked again at 352 Fps.
This was due to a Drop-Off (an o-ring was torn in his regulator) all the shots fired with Loic’s marker after the first shot were below 300 FPS.
We verified our markers pre-game with the pit chrono, and this chrono gave us a totally different read on ALL of our markers.(Below 300 FPS as the rules stipulate). Our mistake was to not verify this with a second chrono.
Because any player with a little bit of tournament experience knows that you can get different reads of a chrono, depending on the angle you shoot upon it.
This does NOT excuse the fact that we were shooting “hot”. It is 100% our own fault, because we did not double-check our markers.
Especially for the marker that shot 352 FPS ON THE FIRST SHOT ONLY, even though all the other shots with this marker were below 300 FPS, there is no excuse.
We weren’t paying enough attention, or maybe we were too “involved ” in the game. This is un-excusable at our level.
When I read on the internet that we use cheater modes in our markers, that we have “suspicious ” habits of shooting into the grass before games, and that we shoot entire lines of “missiles”, I say: NO.
The PSP and the referees, brought in a Dye Technician during the gun check, who took apart all markers that were shooting hot. They concluded that:
All our DM13 were stock (boards, parts, settings).
The DM that was chrono’d at 352 FPS ON THE FIRST SHOT, had a regulator problem, on o-ring used.
None of our DM13 guns were modified to have an increase in velocity during the game.
None of our DM13 guns had a “cheater” Mode.
We would like to thank Lane from the PSP for his press release on this.
Other players, including pros, have been caught with a marker that shoots over 300 FPS. Some have even been caught shooting A LOT HIGHER than our markers, and probably had the same problems that we had.
Even our opponents: Aftershock had 2 markers that were shooting over 300 FPS during our game. Our mistake is to have 4 markers that shot over 300 FPS at the same time, and 1 of those markers shooting very hot on the first shot. It is an unfortunate error on our part, and we have been penalized with minors and majors during the game for this.
But we do not want to serve as scapegoats because we are Europeans in an American competition.
We did NOT ‘cheat’ intentionally, and we do not use cheater modes in our markers to get our victories. We have sacrificed and invested too much, both privately and professionally, and we respect our sponsors (we thank them for their support) too much, to throw it all away in such a stupid and unconsidered way. We have made a human mistake and have lacked responsibility. Nothing more. There is no plot to gain an unjustified advantage. We would like to give our apologies to the spectators, our fans, the players, and to the referees. The referees have a difficult and thankless job, really much more difficult than ours, and we respect them for it.
We are Pro paintball players. Paintball is our passion.
Captain of The team tonton.
Lane Wright of the PSP had this to say on the incident:
A few real points —
1. Teams claimed TonTons were shooting hot on the break.
2. If PSP took the word of every team that claimed another team was doing something illegal (after they lost to them) and PSP went and looked into every claim, we’d A) have to make the events 8 days long; B) have to hire a team of forensic investigators to swing into action 46 times a day at the events C) have to raise entry fees to $8600 per team to pay for the CSI unit to patrol the events
3. At some point enough people gave credible info for PSP to consider the fact that something may be going plausible
4. Two separate individuals on the PSP staff watched the first 2 points of the TonTon Shock game and independently felt there were peculiar activities regarding the way the TonTons were handling their guns during chrono and prior to game start
5. The guns were spot chrono’d by surprise and 4 TonTon guns were indeed shooting hot. 1 slightly hot, 2 extremely hot, and 1 unbelievably hot. Aftershock also had 2 guns shooting slightly higher than 300fps.
6. Some TonTon equipment was confiscated and checked by techs.
7. There’s no evidence that the guns were intentionally set up to cheat. Nothing about the guns and what they were doing would have given any real advantage to the team using them.
8. That doesn’t mean it was just simply a accidental mistake however.
9. The chrono’s were not malfunctioning. The issue had nothing to do with temperature change or paint size.
The TonTon’s are not dirty cheating bastards – or at least the facts of this situation do not prove or even lean toward that conclusion.
The PSP did not knowingly let them play games with break out modes because we were too lazy to do anything, have no regard for safety, or any other of the ridiculous reasons people have surmised.
Additional penalties will be forthcoming. There is no evidence that the TonTon’s engaged in intentional acts to gain advantage over teams and no evidence that malice was involved. Knowing the actual facts about what the guns were doing and/or not doing – there’s no reason to believe the issues gave them any actual unfair advantage during competition.
Be that as it may, what they did was unsafe, irresponsible, irrational and outside of the conduct expected from any team – especially a professional team. It is conduct that we do not take lightly and conduct that will not tolerated.
PSP will release an official statement regarding the penalties and future sanctions imposed once we can get everyone home from the event and have the time to give the situation and sanctions proper thought.
We are currently waiting on an official word from the PSP for further information.