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Explaining the negativity surrounding Zach Randolph

While we're on the Zach Randolph tip, I couldn't help but shake my head at Rob Parker's column in today's Detroit News. Look, I like Randolph as a player, but I'm not nearly as confused as Parker is about why Zach's playing career has been somewhat overshadowed by negativity.

From Parker's column, in which he notes that Randolph has dealt with this sort of thing (unfairly, it seems, from Parker's perspective) from before he was even drafted:

It also was hard to figure out why all the reports about Randolph were negative. You heard more about his run-ins with his coaches and the police than about his fine play. Last April, Randolph was suspended and fined for what was called conduct that was "insubordinate and detrimental" to the team.

Some thought the Trail Blazers might try to move him in the offseason. It didn't happen.

"I'm a survivor," Randolph said. "I have a strong will. It's about being focused, putting stuff behind me."

I'm guessing Parker was simply trying to write a little puff piece to sell papers to all those Spartans who still hold Randolph's one year in East Lansing near and dear to their hearts, because he did the kid a huge favor by glossing over his "run-ins" with the law.

You think that suspension last April is the worst of his problems? The kid attracts law suits like flypaper. Of the two suits currently pending, the more serious one stems from a rape accusation this summer.The other accuses Randolph and his "Hoops Family" crew of harassing a man for two years after tipping off police to a dogfighting ring involving former Blazer Qyntel Woods. While the police decided not to press charges, a civil suit has been brought against him. The details of the police report read like a script to a porn movie, and the only parts that Randolph actually denies are the parts that say "not consensual."

You have to hope justice prevails, whatever that is, but either way his choice of off-court activities, even if technically legal, certainly don't help his reputation. There's no mystery involved here, he brings it upon himself.

That said, he's only 25 years old and a hell of a ball player (even if he is allergic to defense). This is the NBA, not the CYO, and I'm willing to trade for a guy like that if the legal system decides he doesn't deserve jail time and the NBA deems him eligible to play. But at the same time, I'm certainly not going to deny any red flags exist, let alone exist for very good reasons. Discussing his reputation without even mentioning these cases or, as it may be, his perfectly legal off-court activities is lying by omission.