Friday, September 5, 2008
Reports: Arthur, Chalmers sorry for role in rookie camp incident
ESPN.com news services
Fellow ex-Kansas Jayhawks teammates Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers apologized for their role in an incident at the NBA's rookie transition program earlier this week but denied using marijuana, the Memphis Commercial Appeal and Associated Press reported Friday.
On Wednesday, Arthur and Chalmers were kicked out of the program for violating its rules. They were dismissed after women -- a violation of the program's no-visitors rule -- and a strong smell of marijuana were found in their hotel room at the program.
Arthur returned to Memphis and spoke with Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni and general manager Chris Wallace, apologizing for the situation, according to the Commercial Appeal report.
"I told them it won't happen again," Arthur said Thursday, the newspaper reported. "I want people to know I'm a good kid. This is the first really bad thing that's happened to me. But I'm going to prove to people that I'm worthy to be on this team, I have good character and I'll be good in the community."
Chalmers, a Miami Heat guard, released an apology through the team to several parties, including NBA commissioner David Stern, Heat owner Micky Arison, Heat president Pat Riley, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and the Kansas basketball family.
"Everyone who knows me knows I am a good person and I pride myself on doing the right thing," Chalmers said. "I am embarrassed this happened. I broke the rules, but I did not smoke marijuana."
Chalmers, who sank the game-tying, buzzer-beating 3-pointer that forced overtime in Kansas' 75-68 championship victory over Memphis, was drafted 34th by Minnesota. He was quickly traded to Miami, where he is expected to vie for the starting point guard position after playing well during summer league. Chalmers played three seasons for the Jayhawks.
"I made a poor decision in putting myself in the situation that I did," Chalmers said. "It is a dream of a lifetime to play in the NBA and be part of the Miami Heat. I look forward to starting my NBA career, this was a one-time occurrence and it won't happen again."
Arthur, also an early-entry candidate who played two years at Kansas, was a sympathetic figure on draft night. Roundly believed to have lottery-type talent, Arthur sank to the 27th spot after erroneous rumors of a health problem circulated throughout the league.
Then, after being selected by New Orleans, the 6-foot-9 forward was traded to Portland, then Houston, before finally settling in Memphis.
Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that Chalmers and Arthur were caught in Arthur's room at the Doral Arrowwood resort in Rye Brook, N.Y., when a smoke alarm went off Wednesday at about 2 a.m. Hotel management went to the room, but the players refused to allow them in.
TrueHoop: The Program
No women and no drugs, that much we know. TrueHoop's Henry Abbott details the ins and outs of the rules of the NBA's rookie transition program. Blog
Management then left to get security, which used its own key to enter the room minutes later. Once inside, security found Chalmers, Arthur and at least two women, sources told Broussard. There was a strong stench of marijuana in the room, and one person was in the bathroom with the door locked, repeatedly flushing the toilet, sources said.
The police were called to the room, which they searched, but neither marijuana nor drug paraphernalia was found. Representatives from the players' association were also on the scene by that time, sources told Broussard.
Arthur told the Commercial Appeal he had no involvement with marijuana and denied ever using the drug.
"About the marijuana I didn't have any. I didn't have anything to do with marijuana or anything like that. I'd like to clear that up," Arthur said, according to the newspaper. "I used bad judgment by bringing the girls in and violating the rules."
Sources said Stern was livid about the situation and ordered the players banished from the program. During his speech to participants on Wednesday, he mentioned Chalmers and Arthur by name and told the 67 rookies in attendance that the two would be thrown out of the program and forced to attend the 2009 session.
Riley, speaking Friday to the Miami Herald before attending a Hall of Fame pep rally in advance of his induction to the Hall of Fame, said Chalmers' expulsion from the rookie program was "an embarrassment," but said it won't result in disciplinary action from the team.
Riley told the newspaper he spoke with Chalmers and would have a face-to-face meeting with him sometime next week. After being dismissed from the program, Chalmers returned to Miami and spoke with Spoelstra.
"It's something that really can't be tolerated," Riley said. "He's absolutely embarrassed and morose about it. I don't think he's that kind of person, and I don't think he'll get himself caught in that kind of situation again."
Riley said in reference to the players' union that he was unsure what -- if any -- action the team could take with Chalmers as well as any potential sanctions from the NBA.
"I think what the NBA has done will transcend anything we can," Riley said. "I don't think we're allowed to do anything -- anything more than what they've done.''
Arthur, who faces a $20,000 league-imposed fine and whatever additional punishment the Grizzlies or the NBA might add, said he plans to counsel youths in the Memphis area, according to the report.
"I want kids not to make the mistake I made," Arthur said, according to the newspaper. "I want to try to teach them the right thing to do. If you follow the rules you won't be in the same position I'm in. I feel terrible. I should have never opened the door. If I wouldn't have done that, everything would have been cool. I knew the rules and I made a mistake."
Arthur is already is working on plans to get involved in the community. He plans to address juvenile first-offenders at a local YMCA, help open a reading and learning center at a Boys and Girls Club and spend time with at-risk youths in Memphis' inner-city schools.
"The thing I've learned is that you've always got to make the right decisions," Arthur said. "I'm young and starting off in a hole so I'm going to try to dig myself out of this hole and make this thing right. I'm going to make sure I do the right thing. The rules are clear. Letting those girls come in my room was just a bad idea. It was bad judgment and I just have to learn from it."
Information from ESPN The Magazine senior writer Chris Broussard and The Associated Press was used in this report.