Reader Chad e-mailed me the news.
Sports Talk 980 (I think) WTEM is reporting that Andray Blatche has been arrested for soliciting a prostitute.
This doesn't seem like the most serious thing in the world, but it's still something, and it's still bad news. I'm sure most of you are thinking like me and wondering how Abe Pollin, a notorious "character" guy, will react to this. I think we can all agree that the Richmond for Webber debacle -- which was supposedly done for a similar reason-- looms in all our minds. Hopefully, since this is Blatche's first real misstep (and a relatively minor one), he won't do the same here. If he orders EG to let Blatche go, I might burn down the Verizon Center.
I don't really feel like talking about this anymore right now, so I'll just open this up. Try to think with your heads here instead of posting flaming comments, please (aka remember the "innocent until proven guilty" credo).
Update [2007-8-3 0:38:3 by Pradamaster]: Quick thoughts below the jump. You can pretty much disregard everything above and consider it an emotional reaction. Below is where it's at.
Let's get one thing straight before we continue. This was a really, really stupid thing to do, and it's not because of the "he's an NBA player, he shouldn't have to pay for sex" argument. Yes, the NBA life is full of groupies, but we're talking about a 20-year old nobody. I doubt he's getting enough attention where he can just have his pick of the crowd.
No, it's stupid because of every other reason you can think of. Obviously, there are no circumstances where soliciting for sex in the wee hours of the morning is acceptable, but to do it when your agent is trying to negotiate a lucrative contract extension? The timing couldn't have been worse. Blatche already didn't have much bargaining power, and clearly, he has pretty much none at this point. Well played, sir.
Making matters worse, this really isn't the first offense for Blatche. He had that underage drinking citation last year, and according to the Post article today, he also is wanted for failing to drive with a license after being arrested in 2006. Then, there's the infamous carjacking shooting incident from 2005, and while it's hard to blame Blatche for being shot, he probably put himself in a bad situation there too. Clearly, Blatche has some growing up to do, and his past may indicate that he's not the smartest tool in the shed.
But there is one thing that would be even stupider than Blatche's actions, and that would be to use this as fuel for letting him go.
No matter what, we have to remember that Blatche is still very young and desperately needs some stability in his life. We forget that our very own DeShawn Stevenson was once charged with statutory rape with a 14-year old girl from Fresno when he was around the same age. We forget that Caron Butler was arrested fifteen times before he even turned 15. People change, but not if teams try to sweep them under the rug. The only way Blatche is going to reach his full potential, both on and off the court, is here, with the people that have continually put faith in him.
If I'm Ernie, I tear up the 5 year, 12.5 million dollar offer and propose a two-year contract for similar money. I'm thinking something like the 2 year/5 million dollar deal Smush Parker signed with the Heat. This is a win-win for both sides. For the Wizards, it ensures that they won't have to commit to the guy too much, just in case he keeps getting into trouble. For Blatche, it gives him a two-year window to shape up both on and off the court before he could potentially cash in on the open market. If things do work out for him, he won't be stuck making just 2 million a year for the next five seasons.
This should be a learning experience for the kid. Emphasis on learning. If the Wizards cast him aside, it simply means they're too lazy to use this situation that way. When the player in question is a 20-year old kid who came straight out of high school, laziness of this kind cannot stand.