After a video circulated on social media showing Evgeny Kuznetsov in front of a hotel-room table with lines of white powder on it, the Washington Capitals forward said Friday that he has “never taken illegal drugs in my life and career.” He apologized, however, for “putting myself in a bad situation.”
In a statement released by the team, Kuznetsov said that he “would like to publicly apologize to the Capitals, my teammates, our fans and everyone else,” and added that “This was a hard lesson for me to learn.”
For their part, the Capitals said in the statement that they had met with Kuznetsov to discuss the situation. They said they are “disappointed by his presence in the video,” but that they “accept his explanation and apology for putting himself in an unfortunate situation.”
The video posted on Twitter carried a message saying it was an example of why Russia lost in the world hockey championship semifinals. It showed Kuznetsov talking to someone while lines of white powder and American dollar bills can be seen on the table. Kuznetsov does not touch anything on the table in the 22-second video, which has been deleted.
In a statement to Russian news outlet Sport Express, Kuznetsov said the video is from 2018 in Las Vegas after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. In that statement, Kuznetsov said he went to a friend’s hotel room, saw drugs and “unknown women,” called a friend and left.
“I never took drugs, give me a drug test and I’ll pass it,” Kuznetsov told Sport Express.
The 27-year-old Kuznetsov was Washington’s leading scorer in the playoffs when it won the Stanley Cup a year ago. This season, the Russian center had 72 points in 76 games but just one goal during a first-round loss to Carolina.
“Evgeny has been a terrific player and an active member of our community,” the team said in the statement Friday, “and we expect him to learn from this experience and uphold both the standards the organization has for him as well as his own.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.