The breaking industry is a bit of a wild west enterprise, with few checks and balances. The Backyard Breaks Trevor Lawrence Gold Kaboom scandal is just the latest example.
On January 13, Backyard Breaks held a break with four hobby boxes. The breakers had promoted a free box giveaway on their TikTok live and twitch.
They claimed the contents of the last two boxes would be given away for free to their new Twitch followers. The aim was, of course, to drive up their following on Twitch. As they explained, “we are about to go sicko. All for followers.”
The breakers prepared to open a hobby box of Panini Absolute Football. Saying that they would give all the contents to one person. Once the box was opened, the breakers could tell it contained a Kaboom! So one of the breakers, Grant, stated, “we are giving away a Kaboom! for free! It’s gold!” They then followed up with, “we got to give it to someone in the break. It’s only fair. I’m serious. They paid $2,500; it’s only fair. So we are giving these cards away to a user on Twitch.”
Grant then specifically named a user with the handle GPELL10. They then drew a few cards intended explicitly for that Twitch user:
But there was more.
Once the two breakers saw they had hit a Trevor Lawrence, they screamed uncontrollably. Grant then calmed down a bit and said, “it’s only fair to give it to the person, even though it’s a monster card.” Nicky Rips replied, “that’s not fair. It’s a $15,000 card. Not 15, it’s 20.”
At this point, Grant seemed to have second thoughts and asked: “Are we going to give it away?” To which Nicky replied, “I don’t know. That’s an executive decision that I’m not going to make.”
Grant began to look up comps on eBay. However, he could not find them and looked at Trey Lance and Tom Brady’s equivalents.
At this point, Nicky Rips said, “I’ll be the bad guy, guys. I’m sorry we can’t give that one away. We can’t give that one away, but we will give something else away.” Grant backed him up and said, “we can’t give that away for free; it’s a $25,000 card.”
The Twitch comments instantly went negative, as you can expect. Grant responded with a “haters gonna hate.” But, he continued: “who would take $25,000 out of their pocket and just give it away. We are not Elon Musk.”
You can see the clip here:
The individuals behind the Backyard Breaks enterprise had several explanations for why they gave the card away. Here is a list of response Tweets:
The Backyard Breaks gang quickly realized that they had a severe public relations problem on their hand.
The twosome explained that “instead of giving it away to one single person, we are going to take $20,000 cash, right here right now and go to the Boys and Girls Club in Boca Raton Florida and donate the money to children who need it.” If they were to sell it for a higher price, they also vowed to give any further proceeds above that sum from the card.
Their video claimed they would prefer to help many children in need than “one random person winning it.”
Grant said, “we just came back from giving a $20,000 check to the Boys & Girls club in a later video. The smiles of the children are what we do it all for.”
What charity did they choose to use? The Boys & Girls Club of America provides after-school activities and programs for children and teenagers. Their mission statement is to further “Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.”
A video loaded later by Backyard Breakers does show them talking to a representative from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It also shows children thanking Grant and Ricky.
After some skepticism from observers, the breakers produced proof of their donation. GRant explained, “it’s not about that. It’s about positivity. If you know the Backyard, you know how much we give away every day.”
The breakers taped a 22-minute announcement that appeared on their Instagram and Twitch accounts. In it, Grant apologizes “for the misunderstanding.”
The breakers also claim to have talked to Gavin on the phone and reached an understanding. Grant said, “I have a special present for Gavin.”
The breakers said they had awarded the injured party a PSA 8 Patrick Mahomes Kaboom!
Later on that same day, the Backyard Breaks folks decided to try to mend fences with their followers in another way. They announced that they would give the card to a random Twitch follower at 6 PM EST.
The responses from followers were not favorable. Many wondered, understandably, why they couldn’t give the card to the original winner?
For many observers, the breakers had lost their credibility. Therefore, they wondered if the card would be given to a fictitious account so that Backyard Breaks could keep the Trevor Lawrence card.
In the stream, the breakers showed several high-value cards they said would be given away to people who were in the break:
To finish the video of the apology/giveaway, the Backyard Breaks guys announced they would give away the Trevor Lawrence card to one of their followers on Twitch. To be eligible, users had to be logged in at the time of the giveaway.
The breakers showed the 794 eligible users on the desktop computer in their studio. The randomized winner was user cambazin2, who followed the breakers for only one hour previous. They couldn’t get him on Twitch, but the individual contacted the breaker on Instagram. So the breakers Facetimed a person purporting to be cambazin2.
The individual in question was identified as Cameron. The breakers asked him if he had ever seen them before, in a manner reminiscent of old-school Vegas magicians.
Cameron replied that he had never seen them before. He also noted that he had been among the followers reacting negatively to the story. But now, Cameron appeared to change his mind and said, “you are doing what you are to try and make things right.” He said that he thought the card would “go to some random follower, but he had been proven wrong and, therefore, “I want to apologize to you too.”
The individual popped up on Twitter as Cameron Bazin. His account is legit, and he is a real person. However, many users on Twitter have insisted that he should give the card to Gspell, who they view as the rightful owner of the card. However, Bazin doggedly defends the position of Backyard Breaks, that the card was never given to Gspell.
We reached out to Cameron with a few questions. First, I asked if he interacted with the breakers before he was selected. He replied, “No, I have never interacted with any of them before.” Next, I asked what his opinion of Backyard Breakers was; he replied, “I think they are good at what they do; I mean shit, they have how many followers?” And he insisted that the card was his fair and square, “and everyone involved does as well.”
Finally, Cameron told us he plans to grade and sell the card. So look for it on eBay.
Grant loaded a video of an interview with an individual claiming to be Gspell/Gavin. When asked how he felt about the issue, he said that after watching the events two-three times, “I kind of felt like it was supposed to go to me. But then I saw that you set it aside when you saw it as a Kaboom! So it was all just confusing, you know?”
The person claiming to be Gavin said that the breakers were young and made a mistake. And explained the Backyard Breaks staff were “not bad people.”
Grant asked, “did you actually win the card?” To which Gavin answered, “no. I understand that it wasn’t for me.”
Many Youtube and Instagram users accused Backyard Breakers of paying Gavin off. And of course, we do know from other clips that they loaded that the individual was compensated with a Mahomes card.
Taunting The “Haters”
However, despite their claims to not care about the haters, Backyard Breaks have not taken the criticism well. As a result, they held their next break with the comments feature disabled.
They also posted a video casting themselves as the Spartans from the movie.
However, that invited a pretty hilarious parody.
Very few people are willing to give the Backyard Breakers the benefit of the doubt. Some believe that their attempts to make things right are not genuine. Others believe the efforts are sincere but too little too late.
Once again, the parody stylings of Wolfes Breaks give the definitive answer:
There are no clear legal or even ethical guidelines for breaks. Indeed, the very existence of breaks may be a violation of the law on gambling. However, there are strict rules regarding games of chance which breaking may challenge. After all, there is a vital element of luck as to what you hit and whether you get your money back, which is not dissimilar to a lottery ticket or a casino.
We asked noted hobby legal expert Paul Lesko about the legality of breaks. He explained that “Basically, to run afoul state anti-gambling statutes, you have to have 1) a prize, 2) an element of chance and 3) consideration. Most box breaks meet these elements.” He added that this is particularly relevant “if some collectors pay-in but receive nothing.” He added however that ” I think most breakers try to run fair box breaks. But, it’s always the exceptions to the rules that ruin it for everyone.”
To a certain extent, breaks are also about entertainment rather than value. Outfits like the Backyard Breakers go out of their way to make breaks fun by wearing flashy clothes, telling jokes, and being obnoxiously loud.
Legal or not, breaks are a grey area without clear governing rules. There have been breaking scandals before. Perhaps most famously, Dustin Clay of DnT Sports admitted to hiding a significant hit from the cameras.
I have looked at all the evidence on this case from top to bottom. At the end of the day, I don’t feel like the guys in Backyard Breaks are truly bad actors. Instead, they reacted badly to hitting a massive card and gave in to their impulse to keep it. I honestly believe that they regret doing so. To their credit, no one in the organization went into hiding, and they tried to make things right. I wouldn’t break with them. But they are young men in their early 20s trying to navigate difficult situations.
Perhaps more importantly, we need to be realistic about what breaks are. They are more a form of entertainment than a legally binding contract. While what Backyard Breaks did is somewhat unethical, it is not clear that it is illegal. Therefore, you should realize that you are not protected when you break. So consider it more like buying a movie ticket than making a sound investment. Since you are taking a significant risk when you break, remember the golden rule: