Jonas Valanciunas was arrested and charged with driving under the influence early Monday morning, per Newstalk 1010 in Toronto:
Josh Lewenberg of TSN provided some additional details:
The Toronto Raptors released a statement on their official website:
We were made aware this morning of the incident involving Jonas Valanciunas and are disappointed he has put himself in this situation. We take this matter very seriously as we have the highest expectations for all members of our organization.
At this time we are continuing to gather information and we will comment further when appropriate.
Valanciunas also released a statement:
I hold myself to a high standard and take my role as a member of the Toronto Raptors very seriously. I apologize to the organization, my teammates, my family and my fans, and regret any negativity this incident has brought upon them.
This arrest is downer on what has been an otherwise great season for Toronto. The Raptors have already clinched a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, and with a 45-32 record, they sit first in the Atlantic Division, 2.5 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets ahead of Monday's action.
In addition, the 21-year-old big man is one of the Raptors' most promising players. He has played in 76 of the team's 77 games and is averaging 11.0 points and 8.6 rebounds a night. Given his ability to play at both ends of the court, Valanciunas has the look of a franchise cornerstone for the next decade.
Until Monday, he had also stayed out of the news for the wrong reasons.
But Tom Liston thinks Valanciunas can use the arrest as a learning experience going forward:
One of the important aspects to remember is that Valanciunas has only been arrested and charged with DUI rather than convicted of DUI. Until then, it would be unfair to jump to any major conclusions.
Doug Harrison of CBC Sports reported that the Raptors star is due in court on April 22.
If convicted, Valanciunas would likely face some sort of punishment from the NBA. The Raptors' last regular-season game is on April 16, so a suspension would spill over into the postseason.
As a result, not only could this situation affect the team mentally due to off-the-court distractions, but it could also potentially affect the team on the court if any action is taken.
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