Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Nuggets' Anthony apologizes after being charged with DUI
DENVER -- Denver Nuggets All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony said Tuesday he was "truly sorry" for his arrest on DUI charges, and police denied giving him special treatment, even though one officer gave him a lift after his arrest and another drove his car to a city lot.
"I'm here to man up to my mistake, just to let you know that I'm truly sorry for what happened and everything that's going on," Anthony said. "What happened Monday morning was truly and totally unacceptable."
He spoke for about two minutes and left without taking questions. He didn't refer to his notes, appearing instead to speak off the cuff. The team later released a written statement attributed to him.
Teammate Allen Iverson stood off to the side as Anthony spoke.
Anthony acknowledged the arrest came at a bad time, hours before the Nuggets clinched their fifth consecutive postseason appearance when the Golden State Warriors lost on Monday night.
"It's kind of bad timing right now, due to the playoffs, due to our team's success," he said. "Once again, I just want to apologize."
Anthony was alone in his silver Mercedes when an officer pulled him over on Interstate 25 early Monday for weaving and failing to dim his lights, police said.
Detective Sharon Hahn said Anthony was arrested after he failed a series of sobriety tests and was taken to police headquarters and booked.
Hahn said a police sergeant then drove Anthony to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Denver. Hahn said it's her understanding that Anthony's fiancee LaLa Vazquez couldn't pick him up because of child-care issues. The couple have a young son together.
"I want to make sure the public understands that I fully support my fiance, Carmelo Anthony, and stand by him through this ordeal," Vazquez said in a statement. "I will always have his back and never refused to pick him up from the police station. In fact, they offered to bring him to me."
Anthony said he appreciated her support.
"LaLa continues to be a rock in my life, she's always been there for me through thick and thin," Anthony said in a release.
Another officer drove Anthony's car to a city lot until it could be picked up, Hahn said.
Officers said Anthony didn't get preferential treatment.
Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said it's "not a standard practice [for an officer to give a DUI suspect a ride], but it is done on occasion and it is not a violation of department policy."
Hahn said officers also have the discretion to have suspects' cars towed to an impound lot, let a friend or relative move it or move it themselves.
"We've done it before. When I've worked on the street, I've driven cars to different locations when someone's been arrested. It's on the highway, you don't want to leave a car on the highway," she said.
Anthony's attorney, Dan Recht, said his client consented to a blood test, but results won't be available for about two weeks. His first court appearance is scheduled for May 14.
Nuggets coach George Karl said he thinks Anthony's apology is sincere.
"When I spoke with him this morning, he seems to be very genuinely upset at himself for making the mistake. Where we go from here now is continue to be contrite and apologize and get back to playing basketball and the playoff race we're in," he said.
"I was raised on two words -- respect and responsibility," Karl said. "You did hear those words today."
But Karl said he was perplexed by Anthony's latest actions.
"I thought we were past this point," Karl said. "We were looking at more of a celebration of having a great year, finishing up this year as a special season, then him winning a gold medal in 2008 [at the Summer Olympics]. I think we can get him back on that track very quickly."
Anthony has had numerous missteps since he was drafted by the Nuggets third overall in 2003. He was caught with marijuana in his backpack during the preseason in 2004, but the charge was dropped after a friend said the pot was his. He appeared -- but did not speak -- in a street video called "Stop Snitching" that warned people to not go to police with information about crimes.
Last season, Anthony drew a 15-game suspension for throwing a punch in a brawl during a game at Madison Square Garden.