Derrel Johnson, SNYNets.com
It was supposed to be a celebratory day. Brooklyn Nets Center Andray Blatche, who signed a non-guaranteed contract in the off season, made it to Monday, January 7, 2013. The Nets gave Blatche an opportunity at redemption and by 5:00 p.m. on Jan. 7, he’d made it.
Blatche’s contract became guaranteed for the remainder of the season.
Not only has Blatche played well on the court, averaging 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds on the season, and filling in admirably for Brook Lopez when he missed a stretch of games, but he has also behaved himself off the court as well, something he has not always done.
Less than 12 hours after that 5pm threshold, that had changed. And it’s a shame.
In the midst of celebrating with a couple of friends, Blatche found himself making poor headlines again. Blatche and two friends went to a gentlemen’s club in Philadelphia, and, sometime later, Blatche and his friends ended up with three women in his hotel suite at the Four Seasons in the Center City section of Philadelphia.
By morning, one woman was claiming to have had consensual sex with one man, but also claimed another raped her. Whether true or not, this is not the type of issue the Nets organization wants to deal with. And honestly, of all players, it’s unfortunate that Blatche, someone who is seeking redemption, got caught up in the middle of this.
For the Nets organization, this ordeal probably makes them feel a bit foolish too, as it happened a mere 12 hours after they guaranteed Blatche’s contract.
Make no mistake about it, if Blatche wasn’t a talented player, he would have been off the roster before you could say “Josh Childress.”
But he is talented, and makes the Nets a better team. This makes the decision harder. Certainly for Blatche, guaranteed contract or not, he can’t survive another incident like this. The Nets would rather cut him and eat the money than have to deal with another public relations nightmare.
So, from here on out, hopefully, Blatche has learned a lesson and will think twice before corralling his entourage and heading to strip clubs. Many NBA players frequent places like Delilah’s, but if you ask around, most guys will tell you that nothing good comes of road trip visits to gentleman’s clubs.
This is an emerging news story, and there have been many reports that have come out, including comments from the police department and the woman who made the accusation herself.
But there is one thing we can say for certain: Blatche is guilty of poor decision making.
Each year, the NBPA holds a conference for rookies that were drafted into the league. As the years have gone on, the union has become more and more cognizant of players being targeted. Situations like the one Blatche found himself in is exactly the type of situation that Billy Hunter wants the players to avoid.
After eight years in the league and sitting at home for a summer, wondering if he’d get a second chance, Blatche should have known better.
Blatche may have been innocently caught up or targeted, but he should have exercised better judgment. Taking a few of his buddies out to dinner or heading to a nightclub would have both been better alternatives.
I am not going to speculate on what happened that night and I’m not suggesting that Blatche is guilty of any wrongdoing.
But the sad part is that he put himself in a situation where that’s in question.
At this point, all we can say for sure is that Andray Blatche was guilty of poor decision making.
But, in my opinion, that’s enough to have second thoughts about whether or not he’ll ever grow up, fulfill his potential, and make it in the NBA.