Zach Randolph was arrested on suspicion of DUI early Monday morning by the California Highway Patrol, just hours after he put up 18 points and 10 boards in a loss to the Lakers.
According to the L.A. Times, Randolph was spotted weaving “in and out of [a] lane,” in his white Rolls-Royce around 2:30 a.m. The officer who pulled him over smelled alcohol, and Zach was given a field sobriety test before being taken to jail. He was released around 9 a.m., and was at Clippers practice today. The team suspended Randolph for two games. From the Times:
“I regret the situation happened,” Randolph said at Clippers practice today. “I hope people don’t rush to judgment. What I have to do know is focus on basketball and let the process run its course. Let it work itself out.”
Asked whether the incident revealed a larger problem, he said, “I don’t think so. Situations like this happen. It was a bad mistake, a mistake in judgment. It happens all around the league, in every sport. There’s a lot of stuff I can’t comment on right now.”
Now I know everyone is just gonna roll their eyes and make more jokes, but it bothers me to see Zach going through stuff like this because I know he’s not really a bad guy.
As I’ve said here before, Z-Bo is one of my favorite players in the NBA, not so much for his game (which I do appreciate and think he’s underrated), but in large part because he was the subject of my first-ever magazine feature story (Dime #19). I got to know Zach during that process, when I was still far from accustomed to interacting with pro athletes. Keeping in contact with him through the years since then, I’ve seen that while Zach has had some bad influences in his life, he has matured along the way. The fact that he made it through his stint with the Knicks unscathed — I talked to professionals in the industry who seriously thought he’d end up in jail or dead unleashed in New York City — was a great sign of that.
And I’m not saying he hasn’t matured. Odds are this was just a one-time mistake that any of us could have made and not the sign of something bigger. But for somebody with Zach’s reputation, stuff like this doesn’t help at all.