Suspended thought: Did NHL jump gun disciplining Voynov?

10/29/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak

In case you missed it, there was another case of domestic violence in sports. But this time, nobody in the NFL was involved. This time, the dark spotlight shined on the NHL, as Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested last week for suspicion of domestic violence.
Police arrested Voynov at a Torrance, California hospital where his wife was being treated for injuries sustained at their home earlier. After news of Voynov's arrest, the NHL suspended him indefinitely. In the face of all that has happened recently with domestic violence in the NFL, the NHL wasted no time taking action in this situation. The only problem is that action may have been wrong.
Now don't get me wrong, I've expressed it here before in regards to the NFL being too soft when it comes to addressing domestic violence. If Voynov is found guilty of domestic violence, he should be disciplined and face a harsh punishment. There is no place for domestic violence in any aspect of life, but it has become a black eye on face of professional sports. However, as more information is coming out about Voynov's situation, it seems the NHL may have jumped the gun in suspending him.

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The incident report states the Redondo Beach police were called to Voynov's residence after a getting a report stating a woman was screaming and crying at the home. Nobody was there when the police responded, but they did receive a call from the hospital stating a woman was being treated for injuries that were possibly sustained in a domestic violence incident. The woman was Voynov's wife, Marta Varlamova. Voynov was also there, and after police met with Varlamova, her husband was arrested.
But as more information comes out, it seems that maybe the police jumped the gun too. Varlamova speaks very little English, which may have led to a miscommunication about what actually happened. Varlamova has said she doesn't want charges pressed against her husband. It's reported that both Varlamova and Voynov have characterized what happened as an accident at their home. Varlamova said she did not feel threatened by her husband, and was asking for him to be able to come in to the room where she was being interviewed by police after the incident because he is more fluent in speaking English than she is. She did not want her husband arrested at the hospital, and both have said the injuries Varlamova sustained were not from being struck.
Did the NHL decide some type of action had to be taken against Voynov just because of the words "domestic violence"? Did the league react too quickly before all of the facts and information came out? It looks like that may be the case here. Maybe because of the prevalence domestic violence has taken in the world of sports recently, the NHL didn't want to be called soft when it comes to discipline like the NFL has been? Maybe the NHL and the police in this case jumped to conclusions?
No matter how much of a hot button issue domestic violence is in professional sports right now, the American justice system is based on the premise of being innocent until proven guilty. And in this case, because of the open nerve that domestic violence and professional athletes has become, it seems that Slava Voynov may be guilty until proven innocent.

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