Phoenix Suns forward Michael Beasley has done very little to convince NBA fans of his usefulness over his five NBA seasons. Despite entering the league with the hopes of being a very productive scorer and rebounder, Beasley has alternated isolated moments of greatness with long stretches of woeful, directionless play in which he appears to have little sense of his role within the team or what the coaching staff would like him to do. He also hasn't been a model citizen, dealing with a perceived marijuana problem and getting cited for flagrant speeding in February 2013. There is a common and largely accurate perception that Beasley is not a particularly helpful presence on a professional basketball team.
Ultimately, though, those issues are far less severe than the news coming out of Phoenix on Tuesday. As reported by Alex Ferri of ABC15, Beasley is under investigation for an allegation of sexual assault:
The Scottsdale Police Department confirmed Tuesday that they are investigating an allegation of sexual assault against Phoenix Suns player Michael Beasley. The incident reportedly took place on January 13.
“At this point we can only say the investigation is ongoing,” said David Pubins, Scottsdale police spokesman. “We are interviewing those involved and processing any physical evidence we may have to try and determine if criminal charges are appropriate.”
It must be said that there is as yet no report that charges will be brought — this is an allegation and an investigation, not an arrest or trial. The public should not judge Beasley, because there are as yet no facts or details to be judged.
Nevertheless, this is pretty clearly bad news for Beasley even if nothing comes of the allegation. His reputation is low enough as is — a serious legal investigation won't do anything to help him. The Suns are entering a new era with recently hired general manager Ryan McDonough, and Beasley is now involved in one of the worst things possible for an athlete (or even just a person). He is due more than $12 million over the next two seasons and is thus very tough to trade as anything other than a makeweight, but this is the kind of story that could cause the Suns to decide that it's worth paying Beasley not to be present.
Of course, the implications of this news could go well beyond the sports world if these allegations become charges. We'll have more updates as the story develops.