Auston Matthews, Mike Babcock, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly address Matthews allegations

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Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 7: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates during warm up before playing the Detroit Red Wings at the Air Canada Centre on March 7, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Babcock, Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, and John Tavares addressed media on the news of Auston Matthews’ disorderly conduct charge.

All quotes below are transcribed in full and formatted for clarity.

Auston Matthews’ statement


Thanks, guys, for coming. It’s not something that any of us wish we were talking about today, but unfortunately, it is the situation we’re in. I regret if my actions have been a distraction on the team or distressed any individual. I put a lot of pride in preparing myself for the season and representing the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as I can. Unfortunately, due to the situation, I am afraid I cannot make any other comments. That’s all I have. Thank you guys for coming out.

Mike Babcock: “We are going to look after Auston and we are going to look after our actions”


Toronto Maple Leafs' Mike Babcock after practice

On when he found out about the news and how he reacted:

Yesterday. You are always disappointed. As the Toronto Maple Leafs, we really pride ourselves on doing things right — on the ice, off the ice, treating people [right]. It is an unfortunate situation.

On when exactly he found out about the news:

I just found out yesterday. That was the question that was asked.

On whether this will be a distraction for the team:

I don’t think it is going to be. Anything that goes bad, what you do is you take it and you get better as an organization and it makes you a better organization. We’ve got a close family inside. We are going to look after Auston and we are going to look after our actions.

On whether it impacts Matthews’ ability to be a leader on the team:

I don’t think so at all.

On what he said to Matthews this morning:

I went to him this morning and this is what I said: “Are you okay?” I mean, he’s got enough…. For us, that is what the coach is here for. I am here for our players and I am here to help them become better men and better people and better players.

John Tavares: “We stand by him and believe 100% completely in who he is as a person and a teammate”


Photo: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

On whether this is a distraction for the team:

We’ve got a lot of people here today, but we’re focused on the ice. We all know what a quality person and teammate Auston is. I think, like you said, he doesn’t want to put any distress on the team or anyone else. He has represented this team and that locker room extremely well ever since I’ve been around him and I know before that. We are just going to keep our focus on the ice and let that process take care of itself. But we obviously stand by him and believe 100% completely in who he is as a person and a teammate.

On how and what he heard about the news:

Whatever you guys saw. It’s not something we are really involved in. Like I said, we know Auston — how he carries himself, how he treats people every day amongst our group and our locker room and our organization and his involvement in the community. We think very highly of him. We will just let that process carry itself out and we will just focus on preparing for the season and trying to win hockey games.

On whether it impacts Matthews’ ability to be a leader on the team:

I don’t think so. It is easy to cast judgment and make assumptions. I think you just let the process carry out. Everything he has shown since I’ve been here and certainly in talking to guys and being around this group, the way he’s kind of grown over the years and what he’s meant to this team and the type of person he is, we have full belief in him as a player and what he brings to our locker room.

On whether Matthews addressed the team this morning:

I think he was talking to guys more personally, just trying to keep things as normal as can be and just trying to be himself and lead the way he leads.

On whether it is an example of the team needing to deal with adversity:

We are just focused on playing. I don’t think we are all focusing on that. We all support him and want to make sure all is okay with him. He’s obviously addressed it and he doesn’t want to cause any distraction — and I think we knew that beforehand — whether that’s to the team or to anybody else. We’ll just move forward and let the process carry out.

On how Matthews is dealing with it today:

I think he obviously knew there would be a lot of attention around him today. I think he just wants to play and carry on like he always has and just focus on playing and being himself.

On how serious the allegation is if it’s true:

Well, I am not assuming they’re true. I think Auston has addressed the importance of not causing distraction or distress to anyone, whether that’s the team or anyone outside the locker room.

Morgan Rielly: “This doesn’t change things for his teammates”


Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs
DALLAS, TX – NOVEMBER 10: Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs wears a Poppy decal on the back of his helmet commemorating Remembrance Day in Canada against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on November 10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

On how the team heard of the news:

We talked about it this morning. This situation is serious, but we know Auston. He is going to deal with it as it comes. He doesn’t want it to be a distraction. He’s going to deal with it as it goes. We will be there to support him.

On how Matthews is dealing with the situation:

It’s tough. He is taking it very seriously. We understand that these issues are serious and it’s not something we take lightly. That is how he is approaching it. He understands what the situation is. As teammates, we are going to support him.

On what it’s like to have to deal with questions surrounding a personal situation:

It can be tough. When I went through something, you just try not to read about it. Like I said, we know Auston and what kind of person he is and how he acts on a day-to-day basis. This doesn’t change things for his teammates. We are going to support him. He is going to deal with it as it comes.

On when he found out about the news:

Last night, when most people did.

On whether there is a reflection on what it means to be a star athlete:

As a group, we don’t take this job for granted. I think that applies to Auston as well. We feel very lucky to play here. We feel very lucky to have the jobs that we do. We try not to take it for granted. We try to treat people with respect and carry ourselves in a manner that we can be proud of. Auston is no different than that.

On whether this impacts Matthews’ ability to serve as a leader on the team:

I mean, we know Auston and what type of person he is. He has been a leader since day one — since he walked in this room. He is going to handle this maturely and deal with it as it comes. we are his teammates and we are going to support him. Like I said, he is just going to deal with it as it comes and hopefully, it will be fine.