On Wednesday night, NBA player Zach Randolph was arrested for intent to sell marijuana in a bizarre incident in Los Angeles. According to reports, a mini-riot took place that resulted in damage to six different police cars.
The Los Angeles Police Department said a routine patrol car encountered a group of people drinking and smoking pot in Watts. They attempted to disperse the crowd, but this led to bottles being thrown at their car. As the situation escalated, the cops called for backup and the crowd continued to attack the vehicles.
Randolph and one other man were arrested as part of the incident. Two guns and narcotics were seized by the police and two vehicles were also impounded.
The LAPD later clarified that the reason Randolph was charged with "intent to sell" was because of the amount of marijuana in his possession. While recreational cannabis is legal in California, residents are only allowed to possess up to one ounce on their person at a time. According to reports, Randolph had as much as two pounds on him at the time of his arrest. A lawyer for Randolph said, "The charges are false and misleading."
Randolph signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the Sacramento Kings this offseason after playing several years for the Memphis Grizzlies. In 2009, he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and was suspended two games for that incident. And then in 2010, his friend was arrested while driving Randolph's SUV when police found a cooler filled with marijuana in the car. Randolph was not present at the time and would not be charged.
Many people have wondered why a multimillionaire sports star would risk legal penalties for possessing that much marijuana. And while the NBA has a slightly more tolerant stance towards marijuana than the NFL, they're certainly not going to ignore the arrest of one of their players.
This incident also makes the idea of "intent to sell" pretty ridiculous. Why would an NBA player making more than $10 million a year be selling marijuana? And considering marijuana is legal in many states, the "intent to sell" designation for possession arrests may be an antiquated idea.
But unless this situation gets resolved in the near future, it's likely Randolph won't be at opening tip-off for the Sacramento Kings this season.