Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews addressed disorderly conduct charges against him on Wednesday with a brief statement to reporters.
“I regret any of my actions that put a distraction on the team or distress on any individual,” Matthews said after taking part in the team’s morning skate. “I take a lot of pride in preparing myself for the season and representing the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as I can.
“So unfortunately due to the situation, I’m afraid I can’t really make any other comments, but that’s all I have, and thank you guys for coming out.”
Matthews faces charges of disruptive behavior or fighting, stemming from a late-night incident in May with a female security guard.
Matthews was allegedly with a group at 2 a.m. on May 26 who tried to open the guard’s locked car outside the building where she lives. The guard, who recognized the NHL player, according to the police report, exited the vehicle to confront Matthews and his friends, who “wanted to see what she would do and they believed it would be funny to see how she would respond.”
When she told them she was a military veteran with severe PTSD and that what they did wasn’t funny and they should leave, one of the friends asked her not to report the incident while Matthews walked away.
According to the report, “as the friend was speaking ... she said Auston began to walk away and after he walked away some distance, Auston pulled his pants down, bent over and grabbed his butt cheeks.”
The guard said the group appeared to be intoxicated and also said that Matthews still had his boxers on. The police report also added that a security video showed a man walking with his pants around his ankles, but wearing underwear.
The team issued a statement Tuesday saying, “The Toronto Maple Leafs are aware of the complaint of disturbing the peace against forward Auston Matthews. Auston is cooperating fully with the relevant authorities, but neither he nor the club will comment any further out of respect for the process involved.”
Matthews, 22, was drafted No. 1 overall by Toronto in 2016 and has a career total of 205 points (111 goals and 94 assists) in 212 NHL games. In 68 games last season, he recorded 37 goals and 36 assists for 73 points.
He signed a five-year contract extension in February worth $58 million.
—Field Level Media