Witnesses: Randolph seen in Portland strip club while on leave to attend funeral
Trail Blazer missing three games to attend Saturday service in Indiana
On Monday, the Trail Blazers announced that forward Zach Randolph was being granted a "bereavement leave" to attend the funeral of his girlfriend's cousin in his hometown of Marion, Ind.
On Tuesday night, after Portland's 100-98 victory over the Wizards, Randolph apparently spent time - and money - at a strip club in North Portland.
By multiple accounts, the Blazers' leading scorer and rebounder stiffed the folks at Exotica International Club for Men on Northeast Columbia Boulevard after enjoying libations and entertainment there.
"He didn't pay his tab - $106," said John, a bartender who wasn't working Tuesday night but had the story related to him by others. "He'll make it up to (the waitress), though."
The club manager, Joel (he asked his last name not be used), confirmed the account.
"He was here, just for a minute," the manager said.
What time was Randolph at the club?
"Late," Joel said.
What about Randolph's unpaid bill?
"He just forgot," Joel said. "He'll pay it next time."
Randolph, 25, left the team Monday after learning of the shooting that killed Lamar Cannon, 23, early Sunday morning. Randolph had 16 points and eight rebounds that night in a loss to Seattle. He missed Tuesday's game and Thursday's 92-86 win at New York, and will also not play in tonight's game at Atlanta. He is expected to rejoin the team for Sunday's game at Minnesota.
Portland coach Nate McMillan, reached at his Atlanta hotel, sounded surprised to hear the news of Randolph's whereabouts on Tuesday night.
Cannon's funeral is being held Saturday in Marion. Why, then, was it necessary for Randolph to leave the team on Monday?
"He felt he needed to go," McMillan said. "It's a death in the family ... you get a feel for what you need to do ... I'm not going to get into it any further."
A message left for Randolph at the Marion home of his mother, Mae, was not immediately returned.
On Friday afternoon, Blazers assistant general manager Kevin Pritchard issued this prepared statement:
"We have made tremendous strides this season in developing a culture that values character, both on and off the court.
We think we've made significant progress in that regard as a team and an organization and our fans have responded with renewed enthusiasm and support.
At the end of the season we'll sit down with each one of our players and review their performance, including their standing in the community. Character will be a key measuring tool for whether each of our players continues to be a part of the ongoing effort to build toward a championship caliber club.
When players make mistakes off the court, they are often private matters between the team and the player. We know our fans respect the need to handle certain matters internally. We will continue to hold our players to a very high standard and take appropriate action when necessary."