The New Zealand Breakers have been ordered by the Australian National Basketball League to stand down controversial import Glen Rice Jr after he was arrested earlier this week.
Rice Jr was arrested after an incident at an Auckland bar on Thursday morning, but he had travelled with the Breakers to Perth for tonight's game against the Wildcats, with the club still intending to play him in the clash.
However, in a statement today the NBL revealed that they had directed the Breakers not to play Rice Jr.
"The NBL has directed the New Zealand Breakers to stand down Glen Rice Jr from today's game against the Perth Wildcats at RAC Arena following an incident in Auckland last Thursday.
"The incident has been referred to the Basketball Australia integrity unit to conduct an investigation. Rice Jr is not prevented from training or other club commitments.
"The NBL will monitor the outcome of the Basketball Australia investigation."
TVNZ reported that the American import was arrested over an alleged assault with intent to injure, and Breakers CEO Matt Walsh confirmed the arrest to NZME yesterday.
"There's been a charge - Glen let us know about the incident and we're working through the process and the legal system to try and gather information.
"I don't want to say it's disappointing because I don't have the facts, I don't know what happened and I don't know who was at fault. If it turns out that Glen was at fault then of course it's disappointing."
Rice Jr has a chequered past, but that didn't stop the Breakers from signing him earlier this month, saying at the time that they were hopeful he could be a positive influence on the team.
"Everyone who knows Glen or can Google his name would see he has had a few incidents in his career but my personal experience with him is his ability to create a winning team and to affect the team in a positive way was way more significant than anything else," coach Dan Shamir said when Rice Jr was unveiled.
"The stability and underlying values of the Breakers is exactly the environment someone like Glen needs to focus on being the best player he can be," added Walsh at the time.
However, Walsh was not yet ready to admit that the club had made an error in signing Rice Jr until he has more facts at hand.
"One of the things we'll do at the Breakers and will do as long as I'm in control is we're going to give guys the benefit of the doubt and try and give guys second chances, and I hope that's a positive thing for the club and doesn't turn into a negative.
"The hope from our end is that it's innocent until proven guilty and we can all move on from this, but if that's not the case then we'll act accordingly."
Walsh is also currently suspended for the Wildcats game, being sanctioned for breaching the NBL Code of Conduct after a verbal altercation with NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger during last Saturday's game against the South East Melbourne Phoenix.
He was initially handed a two game suspension and $5,000 fine, but on appeal the suspension was reduced to one game, and suspended $3,000 of the fine pending good behaviour by Walsh for a period of 12 months.
The Appeals Panel noted that Walsh apologised for his behaviour and acknowledged that it was inappropriate and indicated that no incident like this would occur again.