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article imageTwo NBA Rookies Dismissed From Seminar Face Suspensions

By Sadiq Green     Sep 6, 2008 in Sports
Two incoming first year players Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers face possible sanctions following their dismissal from the NBA’s mandatory Rookie Transition Program. The program is designed to be secluded and to feature rookies only.
Held at the posh Doral Arrowwood Resort in Rye Brook, N.Y., all of the league's incoming rookies arrived last Tuesday night for the four-day seminar in which coaches, referees and former players speak about adapting to the league. The seminar focuses on issues such as life skills, handling finances, the importance of character and image, the difference between NBA and NCAA game rules, legal matters and dealing with media. Both players will have to complete the program prior to the 2009-10 season.
Arthur and Chalmers, former teammates of last springs Kansas University National Championship team, were reportedly caught early Wednesday morning with women and the smell of marijuana present in their room. Having visitors at the Rookie Transition Program is not permitted. Marijuana use is an obvious violation of program rules as well as the NBA-NBA Players Association anti-drug policy.
According to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreements drug policy, if the league has, "reasonable cause," to believe the two were using marijuana, the pair could be subject to four drug tests in the next six weeks. Also, according to the CBA:
When a player fails or refuses to attend a 'mandatory program,' he shall be fined $20,000 by the NBA; provided, however, that if the player misses the Rookie Transition Program, he shall be suspended for five (5) games. If their getting booted from the program counts as failing to attend the program, then the minimum punishment Chalmers and Arthur face is a five-game suspension and a $20,000 fine.
Both were reportedly already fined $20,000 apiece, but NBA spokesman Brian McIntyre would not confirm that. McIntyre told The Sporting News on Friday:
"We don't really have a timeline on when a decision will be made. We're still looking into it. Once we have all the details, appropriate sanctions will be taken."
The punishment seems light according to ESPN’s Steven Smith and to at least one former player, who has worked at the transition camp in years past and spoke off the record:
"You can't take three days off without getting into that kind of garbage? They watch you, and they watch you close. All the kids there know that. This is David Stern's baby, this program. They ought to be suspended for a month."
The remaining question would be the possibility of marijuana use.
A report on ESPN.com states that security sent hotel management to the room of Arthur to investigate a smoke alarm around 2 a.m., but the players refused to allow them in. Management then left to get security, which used its pass key to enter the room minutes later. After accessing the room, NBA security and local police reportedly found women and evidence of marijuana use in their hotel room after 3 a.m. on Wednesday. There was one person was in the bathroom with the door locked, repeatedly flushing the toilet.
Both Arthur and Chalmers apparently to have had some practice already in dealing with media scrutiny as both issued apologies that a politician would approve of.
Mario Chalmers:
“Everyone who knows me knows I am a good person and I pride myself on doing the right thing. I am embarrassed this happened. I broke the rules, but I did not smoke marijuana. I made a poor decision in putting myself in the situation that I did. It is a dream of a lifetime to play in the NBA and be part of the Miami Heat. I look forward to starting my NBA career, this was a one-time occurrence and it won’t happen again.”
Darrell Arthur:
“About the marijuana, I didn’t have any. I didn’t have anything to do with marijuana or anything like that. I’d like to clear that up. I used bad judgment by bringing the girls in and violating the rules. It was a bad mistake. I’m not a bad kid or anything. I just put myself in a bad situation. I want to apologize to the GM, the owner and all the fans. You won’t hear my name in anything like this from here on out. It’ll be straight and narrow from here.”
Kansas coach Bill Self, who saw both players leave his program early after they helped the Jayhawks to the 2008 national championship, issued this statement.
"I certainly would never comment publicly on any personal matter concerning any player I have ever coached. Beyond that, I can say that both Mario and Darrell were great to coach. They played a huge role in our success the past few years, in large part due to their unselfishness and the sacrifices they made for our program."
Chalmers sank the game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation that forced overtime in Kansas' 75-68 championship victory over Memphis. He left after his junior season and was drafted 34th by the Minnesota Timberwolves but was traded to the Miami Heat. After playing well during summer league he is expected to vie for the starting point guard position.
Arthur, also an early-entry candidate who played two years at Kansas, was a sympathetic figure on draft night. Expected to be a lottery selection, Arthur sank to the 27th spot after rumors of a health problem circulated throughout the league. There were also questions about his academic record in high school that may have contributed to his fall. This issue would relate to his character.
After being selected by the New Orleans Hornets, the 6-foot-9 forward was traded to Portland Trailblazers, then Houston Rockets, before finally settling in with the Memphis Grizzlies.
For two very talented players, who reached the pinnacle of college success, they have had a very inauspicious beginning to their pro careers.
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