Wizards' Strickland arrested on DUI charges

Guard charged 3rd time in 3 years for same offense

January 09, 2001|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

The curious season of Washington Wizards guard Rod Strickland took another bizarre turn with his weekend arrest on charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Strickland, who is currently sidelined with ailing hamstrings and a muscle tear in his left shoulder, was arrested early Sunday morning after police reported him driving erratically on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean, Va.

Strickland, 6 feet 3, who's in his 13th NBA season, refused to take a breathalyzer test and was charged with driving under the influence and failure to stay in lanes, a U.S. Park Police spokesman said.

Through a spokesman in the office of his agent, David Falk, Strickland declined to comment. Wizards team president Michael Jordan, in a statement issued through the team, said he met with Strickland on the matter, but also declined to comment, citing the legal process.

Sunday's arrest is Strickland's third on similar charges in three years. He was convicted in 1998 on DUI charges and sentenced to a year's probation and 30 hours of community service. He was acquitted of the same charge in 1999.

Beyond his previous scraps with the law, which include a November arrest for unlawful entry when he allegedly refused to leave a nightclub after fire marshals shut it down - a charge that was subsequently dropped - Strickland has had a difficult two weeks.

Strickland missed a practice Dec. 26, saying he had overslept after a nap upon returning to Washington from his native New York for a Christmas visit. Wizards coach Leonard Hamilton fined Strickland $2,500 and benched him for the first quarter of the next night's game against the New York Knicks, when he played only 18 minutes.

After the game, Strickland, who had already indicated that he would welcome a trade, contended that he was being poorly treated by the team, and skipped the next day's practice, a doctor's appointment and the team's flight to Miami for a Dec. 29 game.

He was suspended for a game and docked $111,000 - a game's pay from his $10 million annual salary, but after participating in the shoot-around before the Dec. 31 home game against Detroit, Strickland told Hamilton and team officials that his hamstrings and shoulder, which had bothered him throughout the season, were hurting and that he was unable to play.

Strickland's doctor diagnosed a muscle tear in his left, or non-shooting, shoulder, and he missed games at home against Minnesota last Tuesday and at Chicago last Thursday.

Strickland did not attend Saturday's game against Dallas and did not make the team's current two-game road trip that included a Sunday night stop in New York and tonight's game in Milwaukee.

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