New York Ranger — and critic of Vladimir Putin — Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence after allegations that he beat up an 18-year-old woman in Latvia surfaced.
WILD story in NHL. Artemi Panarin takes leave of absence after his former KHL coach alleges the star beat up an 18 yr old girl in Latvia in 2011.
NYR: "Clearly an intimidation tactic being used against him for being outspoken on recent political events." https://t.co/lGAfDQCEEK
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) February 22, 2021
The news comes after a Russian newspaper published allegations from Panarin’s former KHL coach, Andrei Nazarov, claiming the winger got into a physical altercation with an 18-year-old woman in Latvia in 2011. Nazarov’s interview said Panarin “sent her to the floor with several powerful blows,” according to a translation provided to ESPN. Nazarov has previously criticized Panarin’s outspoken beliefs toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Panarin, who signed an $81.5 million, seven-year contract with New York in 2019, typically spends his offseasons in Russia and still has family there, including his grandparents. It is rare to see high-profile Russian athletes speak out against Putin or the Russian government, but Panarin has been consistent in his stance.
In a Russian-language interview in 2019, Panarin said that he is frustrated to see economic development stalled and limited to the elite in Moscow.
Knowing how Russia operates, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that these allegations were brought out to punish Panarin for his criticism of Putin and support for opposition leader Alexei Navalny. We can’t say for sure.
But we feel completely confident in saying that Keith Olbermann’s take on the situation is some steaming-hot garbage:
Lots to unpack there. There’s the Russian collusion business, of course.
But how about that “stain of Russian heritage,” huh?
Whoa . . .
— Diane Vellandurai (@dizie61) February 22, 2021
The what of russian heritage
— Porco (@Porco38) February 22, 2021
"the stain of Russian heritage"
— New Aeon Saint (@newaeonsaint) February 22, 2021
Russian heritage has nothing to do with the Russian government. https://t.co/pC0KqkXbzI
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) February 22, 2021
…"the stain of Russian heritage" pic.twitter.com/X4AmlZnk87
— Harrison (@harrisonog_dev) February 22, 2021
Xenophobia! It’s not just for reactionaries anymore!!
— Text DORNER to 88022 (@DonColors) February 22, 2021
"My bloodline was made lesser by mongrel interlopers" is one hell of a statement in 2021, Olbermann.
— Goran (@GoranGligovic) February 22, 2021
Talking about how a certain ethnicity is a stain and inherently corrupt seems bad
— The Guillotine Shouter (@guillotineshout) February 22, 2021
Nah I’m sure it’ll be fine. There’s never been a bad precedent set for these things anyway
— The Shadow Expert (@memtapes) February 22, 2021
Of course not!
Have you considered sharing this with a therapist instead of the internet?
— Alex (@JewishWonk) February 22, 2021
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