So by now you've probably already heard that franchise player and team picture recluse Zach Randolph had a little run in with Portland's finest early Thursday morning. Apparently Zach was letting a buddy drive his Dodge Magnum (which I referenced previously here) in order to race against a Cadillac Escalade, also owned by Randolph. Which begs the question: Who the hell races against their own cars? I guess it's a good way to offset your losses if you're racing for pink slips, but where's the thrill? Where's the bragging rights? I guess maybe Zach's got so fed up with losing at hoops this year that he's decided to take up a hobby in which he can't lose. I can hear Zach's clique in my head, saying something to the extent of, "Damn Z-Bo, your car just punked your other car!" And then another guy says, "You're not going to let him talk about one of your cars like that are you?" It's all very confusing.
Supposedly the cop "smelled marijuana" on Zach while he was questioning him. While I myself could care less is Zach is smoking herb, especially during the off-season, I will say that rarely have I been pulled over by a cop and not been asked about whether or not I was high. I guess that stems from being under 30 and sometimes wearing my hair a little longer than the norm. Basically, I think police officers tend to assume that any young person out after 2 a.m. is strung out on dope, so I wouldn't put to much stock in what John Q. Law has to say about Z-Bo smelling like the chronic.
The other issue that fans enamored by "morality" (basically meaning the morality of others, not their own) might find distressing is that Zach had registered guns in the car, and refused to let the cops search his vehicle. I have to say that personally, I respect Zach a lot more because of it. First off, the police are far too quick to do searches of vehicles when it comes to younger citizens. I'm not black (could you tell?) so I won't try to make broader statements about how that might factor into the police wanting to search Zach's ride, but I've got suspicions. Once again, every time I've been pulled over after dark, the cop has wanted to search my car. One time I was driving home from work with a bunch of empty boxes in my car (I was moving back to the University of Oregon) when a cop pulled me over, asked me to step out of my car, slapped cuffs on me and sat me on the hood while he went through every box. The reason he pulled me over? My license plate was too dirty, though it probably had more to do with the fact that I was driving a piece of shit car. Or maybe it was because he happened to have an attractive young lady as a ride-along, and he felt like giving her a show of his awesome authority by harassing a 19 year-old at 4:30 in the afternoon. Did he issue me a ticket? No, but he did leave my license on the hood of my car, which, in my embarrassed state, I forgot to grab, which in turn required me to pay for a new license. How this corresponds to Zach? If I hadn't been afraid of the badge, I would have told the cop that he couldn't search my car, and that if he wanted to tow it away, so be it. I let the police intimidate me into relinquishing my rights, and that makes me a chump.
Zach has the right to carry a registered gun, a right that thousands of Oregonians exercise as well. The fact that he plays basketball doesn't preclude him from that right, though some are under the impression that when you make a lot of money and have a certain amount of notoriety, that you somehow forfeit those privileges. If you're holding athletes up to a higher standard than you would hold yourself, you're also a chump. Zach may be stupid, selfish, irresponsible, and not much of a franchise player, but at least he's not letting himself get pushed around.
And by the way, I know that the franchise would like players to stay in the area during the off-season, but with instances like Zach's, you'd think they'd want guys to get as far away from P-Town as possible during the summer. If you're racing your own cars against each other on a Thursday morning, you've got too much time on your hands.
Click on the "Entry Link" tag to vote in the poll.