Keep on truckin'

By MATT TAIBBI  |  January 30, 2008

Speaking of weed, old friend Dexter Reid this past week pleaded guilty to a count of possession with the intent to distribute. Reid was that guy who used to be seen around here giving up long touchdowns as a reserve safety for the Pats, before moving (Mid)west to give up long touchdowns as a reserve safety for the Colts. The Colts cut him almost immediately after the ’07 Super Bowl win, leaving Reid to face the music for a variety of charges stemming from an incident in which cops stopped his car and found him carrying three ounces of high-end tree in neatly wrapped baggies. Reid beat a concealed-gun charge piled on in that case, but faces up to 10 years on the weed. His lawyers say they’re asking the judge for leniency on the drugs, because, as they say, that shit was for his own personal use, not for sale.

I believe him. “Intent to distribute” is jurisprudential code for “black man carrying more weed than he can afford.” But when an NFL player has three ounces of weed, he’s planning on smoking it (probably that weekend), not selling it. Hell, if a player has two trash bags of weed, he’s probably not selling it. You have to get into Dennis McKinley territory — remember the Cardinals fullback who got arrested with 1500 pounds of weed, who had so much weed he had to rent a warehouse to hold it? — before you start assuming such absurdities as “intent to distribute.” Poor old Dexter, he always was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Welcome to the club
Move over, Andre (Bad Moon) Rison, Bennie Blades, Zab Judah, Chris Warren, and 10 gazillion other deadbeat athlete dads. Now you’ve got a new member of the six-figure child-support debt club: former UNLV Running Rebel and Los Angeles Clipper Tyrone Nesby, arrested this past week on a charge of contempt of court. It seems Ty’s child-support payment in Illinois is in arrears $304,551, which may be the reason for his detention.

Nesby has been arrested a few times before, including on a battery charge that was later dropped. Lest anyone think the oversize deadbeat debt is unusual for a pro athlete, it isn’t. The system often produces such cases. Typically the offender is a marginal player who had one big contract and ended up saddled with massive monthly obligations long after he’d transitioned to a post–NBA/NFL career selling cars or managing Popeye’s franchises. The classic case was Blades, who was working as a substitute teacher in Florida when authorities picked him up for nearly $300,000 in back child-support owed. Some of these guys are almost easy to feel sorry for — Blades fathered six kids by six women and then had his career cut short by an injury. And then some are like Vernon Maxwell. Which is Nesby? He had one $9 million deal, and then he fell off the face of the earth . . . hard to say where he lands on this spectrum yet. Give him 30 points to start.

We’re not even getting to the Jose Canseco potential-blackmail case here; no charges have been filed as yet. More on that, probably, next week.

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