Portland Trail Blazers Waive Qyntel Woods

Friday, January 21st 2005, 6:56 pm

By: News On 6

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Qyntel Woods' troubled tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers ended Friday with the team waiving their suspended forward after he admitted mistreating his dog.

Woods appeared in Clackamas County Circuit Court to plead guilty to first-degree misdemeanor animal abuse. He was sentenced to 12 months probation and 80 hours of community service.

Woods had been under investigation for more serious charges related to dog fighting. His female pit bull is in protective custody.

Within an hour of the court hearing, the Blazers waived Woods for ``material breaches of the contract'' with the team and breaking team rules.

Woods, who had been suspended indefinitely without pay since Oct. 12, by the team after allegations of animal abuse was to make $1.1 million this season, the final year of his contract.

``I've tried to be a responsible pet owner all my life. Because of that, I am very sorry and saddened that my dog, Hollywood, was injured,'' Woods said in a statement read by his attorney, Stephen Houze. ``I also deeply regret the concern this has caused other pet owners and citizens in our community.''

Woods did not comment directly, and the statement made no reference to dog fighting.

``For whatever reason, sometimes things happen and it becomes a sad situation,'' Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said after the team's practice. ``This is one of those sad situations.''

Investigators from the Oregon Humane Society and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office searched Woods' Lake Oswego home Oct. 11 and again Oct. 15 following a television news report alleging he had abandoned Hollywood and that she appeared to have bite wounds.

Court records showed that investigators found bloody paw prints in a room above Woods' garage.

First-degree animal abuse, a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $6,250 fine. Woods' community service must be served within nine months and he must work a minimum of 8 hours a day for 10 days.

As part of his probation, Woods is not allowed to have pets.

Woods' agent, Raymond Brothers, said his client would also make a $10,000 donation to the Oregon Humane Society.

Woods had faced a more serious charge of dog fighting, a felony in Oregon. Promoting or conducting dog fighting is punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to five years in jail, under state statutes.

Woods had appealed the suspension to the players' union.

The Blazers selected Woods in the first round of the 2002 NBA draft out of Northeast Mississippi Community College. He played in 115 games with the Blazers, averaging 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds.

He has had other brushes with the law, most notably in 2003, when he was stopped in Portland for speeding. He was cited for marijuana possession and driving without insurance and a suspended license. He paid a $1,000 fine for possession.

The Blazers' swift action in waiving Woods is no surprise. The team has been trying to rebuild an image tainted for the past several years by player arrests and misconduct.

Before the start of last season, the team issued a 25-point pledge to fans that promised to ``establish a player code of conduct and hold our players accountable for their actions both on an off the court.''

``It is an unfortunate day. You have a young man that has a lot of potential and because of a dozen incidents over the past 18 months, he's ruining his career,'' Patterson said.

Despite his troubles, Woods worked hard in the offseason. Cheeks has said Woods was one of the most improved players he saw from last season.

Forward Zach Randolph, who said he had spoken to Woods the day before, said he was glad the protracted process was finally resolved and Woods could get on with his life.

``This is my good friend. I love him to death, and I wish him the best of luck,'' Randolph said. ``The storm will pass over. He's a great basketball player and a great guy and I look forward to seeing him get back on the court.''

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