On Thursday, we passed along a report that Denver Nuggets center Chris "Birdman" Andersen had his home searched in relation to an investigation by a Colorado Internet Crimes against Children unit. It was a shocking story, and enough for the Nuggets to excuse Andersen from all team-related activities in the midst of a neck-and-neck playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers. With few details, no one knew what to think of the situation, and many feared the worst.
New details have emerged, though, and they paint a different picture of the situation. According to one of Andersen's lawyers, he could be the target of extortion. From Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post:
In the statement, Colin Bresee, an attorney for Andersen, suggested that a woman from California tried to get items of value from Andersen. The statement reads:
"A female fan in 2010 mailed Mr. Andersen multiple letters and included several photos in which she was scantily clad. Chris and this woman communicated with each other and in 2011, this woman, who represented herself as 21 years of age, flew to Colorado, showing her required identification. After leaving Colorado, she became upset at his lack of interest. In 2012, she threatened to retaliate if he did not provide financial remuneration. "
According to the statement, someone purporting to be the woman's mother wrote in an email that " 'i (sic) want him to pay for everything on her Amazon wish list, 5K for her bedding stuff and her victoria secret wish list."
"Professional athletes are routinely targeted by these types of individuals," the statement said. "The media has been speculating that he's a suspect and not a victim in a criminal investigation. Mr. Andersen has been fully cooperative with the authorities. The investigation is expected to take three weeks. We're confident it will show that Chris did not engage in any criminal conduct."
A lawyer's statement is naturally a biased take, and this explanation doesn't necessarily answer every question associated with Thursday's police search. However, Andersen still hasn't been charged with any crimes, and this statement does help clarify matters at least a little bit. We don't yet know the terms of this situation, but this could be the first step in reaching some sort of understanding.
For the time being, though, it's important not to take this little bit of news as the end of the story. Investigations of this sort take a long time to suss out, and for all we know complicating information will come to light in a couple hours. As far as anyone knows, Andersen remains excused from the Nuggets and the situation remains very serious. We can only wait to learn more and hold back from saying too much before we know what we're talking about.