Artemi Panarin is at home dealing with the allegation of assault levied by his former KHL coach Andrei Nazarov. There’s been a lot of amazing reporting on this topic, one that is very difficult to cover.
Here at Forever Blueshirts, I’ve tried to not opine on the situation and point our readers to those that have done the reporting. I am a firm believer that people are innocent until proven guilty. Sadly, the court of public opinion doesn’t always work that way.
Panarin defense gets big boost
In a new Russian interview, Mikhail Anisin a former teammate of Panarin recounted his recollection of the night in question. Why is this one so important? Because when Andrei Nazarov laid out the allegation he cited Anisin as having been there drinking “juice”.
The following is the key excerpted and translated quote:
- “To begin with, I will say that I do not understand why politics and sports are constantly mixed up. I am totally against it. We differ from Panarin in views. Here only life will judge us. But politics has absolutely nothing to do with the events that took place in Riga many years ago. Nothing supercriminal in karaoke happened then, otherwise they write that he allegedly beat someone severely. It didn’t happen.”
Anisin did note the police were called but no money was exchanged. Especially the 40,000 Euros that Nazarov claims was paid. He even mentioned that no player would even have that kind of money on their salaries.
As far as Nazarov saying he was only drinking juice, he called that nonsense. “Guys 20-22 years old, what we drank “only juice” ?,” he said. “Panarin drank alcohol. And I, Anisin, sat next to him and drank juice? How do you imagine this? It’s funny.”
Ultimately, he makes clear that Panarin hit no one.
This interview is coming off the heels of Mollie Walker’s great work at the NY POST. She spoke four other of Artemi’s teammates who did not hear of that event. You should read her features as well.