Monday, February 16, 2009
Guard suspended following charge
ESPN.com news services
PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns have suspended Jason Richardson for one game without pay as the result of his arrest on allegations he was driving 55 mph above the limit with his unrestrained 3-year-old son in the car.
In a brief statement late Monday afternoon, the Suns said Richardson would miss Tuesday night's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers "for conduct detrimental to the team." The one-game suspension will cost him $111,111 of his $12.2 million annual salary.
A Scottsdale police officer first saw Richardson driving 67 mph in a 40 mph zone Sunday night and followed him, police said Monday. That's when the officer clocked him at 90 mph in a 35 mph zone and pulled him over.
Police said Richardson admitted to speeding and identified himself as a Suns player. The officer saw Richardson's son in the back seat of the car and that he was not in a child seat.
Richardson said he had taken his son to dinner and was on his way home.
He was arrested and charged with reckless driving, excessive speeding and failure to use a child seat. He was released from jail after a few hours.
Police said Richardson's fiancee responded to the scene of the stop and took custody of the boy.
Richardson spoke briefly to reporters after the Suns practiced on Monday.
"I just want to apologize to everybody -- my teammates, my family, especially my fiancee," he said. "It's a tough time for me. I've been questioned as a basketball player, questioned as a person, but my fatherhood in question is tough, because I try to be the best father I can be, and try to keep my kids out of harm's way."
The Suns announced the suspension about two hours later.
It was Richardson's second run-in with the law since the Dec. 12 trade that brought him to Phoenix from Charlotte in exchange for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary.
Richardson was cited Dec. 21 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. He was stopped by a Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community police officer and accused of having a blood alcohol level above 0.08 percent and of failure to drive in one lane.
At the time, Richardson called the incident "one stupid mistake I made," and he said he hoped it wouldn't change the public's perception of him.
Richardson is averaging 15.6 points, third-highest on the team behind Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal, in 28 games since joining the Suns.