We learn of Toronto Raptors’ centre Jonas Valanciunas being charged with Driving Under the Influence (of alcohol) in Wasaga Beach, a resort town about 2 hours north of Toronto. While JV has issued a statement of apology, his foolish act will surely result in some sort of penalty from the team.
All pro sports teams hate these sorts of transgressions, as the fallout can be deadly. The Portland Trail Blazers endured a period when they were known as the Jail Blazers for the ludicrous and humiliating number of often-violent legal issues their players were embroiled in. A promising Washington Wizards team was destroyed when two players brought guns to confront each other, and were caught. By contrast, the Raps have had very few incidents in their history. Charles Oakley was not a man to be taken lightly, and several times brought outside disputes to the practise court. Within coach Dwane Casey’s time, James Johnson was benched, then dumped, for some sort of insubordination (whatever Johnson did or said during practise has never been revealed to my knowledge, but if any reader has some details, please leave them in the Comments). JV’s DUI charge is not the same as “dissing” the coach, but Casey is an upright man, and won’t let the matter slide.
I’ll be checking the expected-starters list for the Philadelphia game to see if JV has been removed. Basketball players hate not playing, and benching may be the most appropriate and immediate sign of the team’s displeasure. Undoubtedly JV will need to apologize to his teammates, and perform community service.
Jonas is a very young (21) man, and not the first to do something silly. But a DUI charge is serious, and he needs to man up, and accept punishment. The Raps will no doubt be monitoring him closely, as the last thing they want is a repeat, or to discover he’s got a chronic problem.
Here’s hoping this event is the first and last of its kind.