The professional careers of Russian soccer players Aleksandr Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev appear to be on the ropes after the pair was filmed beating up a man with a chair in a Moscow cafe.
Video emerged earlier this week of Kokorin and Mamaev confronting a man later identified as Denis Pak of the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry. Pak apparently told Kokorin and Mamaev to calm down, which prompted the attack. The two players began punching him, and then beat him up with a chair. Pak reportedly suffered a concussion in the assault. According to Pak’s lawyer, the pair was “motivated by racial animosity,” as they also reportedly peppered Pak with racial slurs. Mamaev’s wife claimed that everyone involved was super drunk.
The fallout has been swift; Zenit Saint Petersburg “absolutely condemned” Kokorin in a statement, and according to some reports from the Russian media, the club intends to terminate his contract; FC Krasnodar wrote that they were in the process of getting out of Mamaev’s contract. The Russian Premier League said, ominously, “the guilty must be given the toughest punishment.” The Moscow police have opened a criminal battery attack, and the two players reportedly face up to five years in jail if convicted.
Somehow, the cafe beating wasn’t even the only fight that Kokorin and Mamaev started that day, as they were also filmed punching out a driver for a Russian state-owned news station hours before. Kokorin has 48 caps and 12 goals for Russia, while Mamaev has 15 caps. Russia’s minister of sport said that they’ll be banned from the team if they’re found guilty of any criminal behavior.