The man who I helped dub as "The Crime Stopper" was stopped for apparently committing a crime, according to the Denver Post. Balkman was a fan favorite last season and a guy who I lobbied for to get more playing time. Renaldo will now have to face the same scrutiny of a damaged public image as Carmelo Anthony and if convicted a likely suspension from the Nuggets.
The 25-year-old Balkman was arrested by Temple Terrace, Fla., police at 4 a.m. Saturday, after he refused a blood-alcohol content test. Balkman was booked at 5:30 a.m. and released on a $500 bond at 12:30 p.m.
"We are aware of a traffic violation involving Renaldo Balkman early Saturday morning in Tampa. As is team policy and out of respect for the legal process, we will have no further comment," Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien said in a statement released by the team.
What we can probably expect the team to handle this matter the same way they handled Carmelo Anthony's suspension after his suspicion of DUI before last season. From a story on ESPN about Anthony's suspension:
Warkentien also said in the statement the team takes "drinking and driving very seriously" and that they will continue to handle the matter internally and will not comment further.
I don't want to jump to conclusions here and say that Balkman was driving under the influence, but if it turns out that indeed he was we will find out soon in the form of him being suspended for 2 games to start the season, like Anthony was. Whatever the case, another Nugget has come under fire with an arrest and unfortunately in our "guilty until proven innocent" world of today this incident will stick with Balkman for a long time, no matter the end result.
This has been a very weird offseason around the league especially for the Nuggets. J.R. Smith served time in a New Jersey jail, Michael Beasley of the Miami Heat has apparently checked himself into rehab in Houston, and the Balkman news.
I am a huge Renaldo Balkman fan because he plays every game like it could be his last. I hope that the arrest, no matter the reason, is an isolated incident and that he can distance himself from it in the future.
If Balkman turns out to be guilty of DUI he deserves to be suspended, but more importantly I would hope that he learns from this and if needed can find the help he needs to make sure he doesn't put himself and anyone else in danger going forward. Maybe Mr. Billups can get Balkman to Vegas for some guidance.
From Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post: (click here for the full version)
At approximately 3:26 am a Temple Terrace officer conducted a traffic stop on a Black BMW which displayed an expiration sticker of 07-09; it was confirmed to be expired as of 7/14/09. The traffic stop took place at 56th Street and Grove Hill Road.
The driver and sole occupant was slurring his speech and the officer detected a moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from inside the car.There is more in the full version if you click the link above ...
(thumbnail photo courtesy of Garrett W. Ellwood of Getty Images)