By Greg Avetisyan |Managing Editor|
Domestic violence has taken the sports world by storm the last three months, as athletes across many professional sports leagues are facing charges.
Los Angeles King’s defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested last Monday Oct. 20 at 12:45 a.m. under suspicion of domestic violence against his girlfriend.
Officers arrived at the Redondo Beach residence after a neighbor called the police saying, “a woman was screaming for the past 20 minutes and could now be heard crying,” according to a news release from the Redondo Beach Police Department.
The NHL responded quickly to the issue and released a statement shortly after the arrest, “Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has been suspended indefinitely from all club activities pending a formal investigation by the National Hockey League of an arrest this morning on charges of domestic violence,” according to espn.com.
Last year, Colorado Avalanche Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was also arrested for domestic violence. However, the NHL was slow to take action and Varlamov barely missed any time before the charges were eventually dropped.
Late Wednesday night Voynov’s attorney, Craig Renetzky released a statement defending his client saying the issue was a misunderstanding due to the couple’s limited English, “from everything they’ve both said to me, this didn’t amount to a crime,” said Renetzky. “I think when the police understand what happened; their impression will be quite different.”
Renetzky interviewed Voynov and his girlfriend with a Russian interpreter to learn more about that cloudy night. “Slava never hit her,” Renetzky said, “She was injured, but it’s not a result of Slava punching her or anything remotely like that.”
“I can’t go into any details but I can tell you Mr. Voynov did not hit her,” Renetzky told espn.com when reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon.
“This is being painted with the same broad brush, basically with what came to light with the NFL, and it’s nowhere near that. It’s a totally different type of situation He didn’t cold-cock her and drag her from an elevator.”
Renetzky attributed the NHL’s quick action to missteps by the NFL in the handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case. “My hope is the district attorney’s office will keep an open mind, look at what the woman involved has said, and they’re going to conclude there’s no criminal activity,” said Renetzky.
Voynov and his girlfriend are still living together in their Redondo Beach home, after Voynov was freed on $50,000 bail.
More details continue to emerge as the investigation is underway. In the mean time, Voynov is suspended indefinitely with pay, an action supported by the Kings in the following press release.
“These developments are of great concern to our organization. We support the NHL’s decision to suspend Slava Voynov indefinitely during this process and we will continue to take appropriate action as the legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their course,” according to cbssports.com.
The defending Stanley Cup champions have 18 games before Voynov’s court date on Dec. 1.