The Los Angeles Kings have seen two of their players publicly deal with domestic violence and drug issues during the last year. Because of this, general manager Dean Lombardi said the team will take the step of bringing in people outside the organization to educate its players about such problems.
In October, defenseman Slava Voynov was charged with corporal injury to spouse with a great bodily injury. In April, forward Jarret Stoll was arrested for suspicion of possession of cocaine and Ecstasy at a Las Vegas pool.
Lombardi didn’t say the name of the domestic violence group that will talk to the Kings or when. He did say former NBA player Chris Herren would talk to them about drug abuse and that both were in the process of being set up.
“We neglected to educate our players,” Lombardi said via conference call. “We spend time teaching them systems, nutrition and everything else, but we missed a big step here in terms of ensuring they understand right and wrong and that this has to be reinforced, not only as a human being, but as somebody who is a representative of your community to heighten the need for this.”
Lombardi referenced former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh multiple times, saying the Pro Football Hall of Famer taught his teams in the 80s about domestic violence and off-field issues. Lombardi indicated it’s partially why those teams won multiple championships.
Said Lombardi on domestic violence: “They’re going to come in and educate all of us quite frankly about … I’m interested in some of this myself. We all need to learn about it.”
When asked directly about Stoll by the LA Times’ Lisa Dillman and whether he had talked to the forward, Lombardi said it was a difficult conversation.
“Probably one of the most gut-wrenching meetings I’ve had in my career and I’ve had meetings with lots of players,” he said.
Stoll is a pending unrestricted free agent and was already unlikely to be brought back to the Kings. Voynov’s trial is scheduled to begin July 6.
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