Friday, January 8, 2010

When Keepin' It Gil Goes Wrong.

I've purposely avoided discussing this whole Gilbert Arenas gun situation here. Seriously, you're talking about the slow and painful implosion of the team I love more than anything else in the world of sports. Talking about it isn't fun, but when Rebb'n Al stepped into the fray and demanded the NBA suspend Arenas (prior to the grand jury reaching a decision), mostly off that completely overinflated initial NY Post story, I had to issue a prompt STFU to the esteemed Civil Rights leader. Seriously, Reverend, you must have bigger trout to fry, than to worry about the fate of an NBA has-been, and an overexaggerrated "lockeroom gun duel".[1]

As for Arenas, well, he was gonna be suspended (I say 25 games at least), whether charged with a felony or misdemeanor, because the NBA has an image to protect, and any guy dumb enough to bring firearms to work deserves some punishment. But how about some due process? Let the courts to their job, and until then, let Arenas do his job on the court.

Then, this moron went and did this...
Before he was suspended by the NBA, Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas took heat for a photograph that was taken Tuesday night in Philadelphia on the court.

Arenas has been under investigation after admittedly bringing guns in to the team's locker room at the Verizon Center in Washington.

During pre-game on Tuesday, Arenas is seen on the court encircled by his teammates while smiling and pointing his index fingers at them as if they were guns.

Later, Arenas tweeted about the photo, saying, " I know everybody seen the pre game teammate thought to break the tension we should do that..but this is gettn way to much."

"I wanna say sorry if I pissed any body off by us havin fun...I'm sorry for anything u need to blame for for right now.." Arenas added in a second tweet on Tuesday night after the game.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has suspended Arenas indefinitely from play without pay. Stern released a statement saying Arenas was "not currently fit to take the court."
Uhhh, Gil, come on bruh. You are facing a grand jury and the possibility of having the remainder of your $116M contract voided. Flashing gun signs during a game, hugging opposing fans afterward, referring to the Commissioner as "mean", and Tweeting during the whole ordeal (when you really should just lay low and be quiet) is just dumb, dumb, dumb. At least you went out with a bang, no pun intended. 19 points, 14 dimes, and a win. But it'll be the last time you get paid to play for awhile.

This is extra sad for me, not just because my favorite team is going to suffer the backlash of such actions for a few seasons to come, but also because Arenas was once my favorite athlete, period. Not only did he singlehandedly return a once-moribund franchise to relevance, but he was also once one of the most personable guys in all of pro sports. He was the first prominent athlete to have a blog. His practice of buying several extra game jerseys with his own money so he could toss one into the crowd after games endeared him to fans in arenas nationwide. And his philanthropic foundation goes far beyond the typical "tax-writeoff" nature of that of most athletes and entertainers. Arenas famously took in the orphaned child of parents who were killed in a Christmas fire a few years back. He was once one of the NBA's true "good guys". Heck, he was even the subject of the very first post here at, looong, long ago.

Sadly, he's always had his stoopid side, as he's equally infamous for pulling sophomoric locker room pranks.[2] There was the time he filled a teammate's car with buttered popcorn. And the time he allegedly licked all the powder off a box of donuts purchased for the team, and sprinkled baby powder on them instead. And the time he allegedly stole a teammate's smartphone and emailed everyone in his address book, pretending he was "coming out the closet". While this stuff is cutesy, and folks can look the other way when you're winning games, when you undergo 3 knee surgeries, sign a monstrous deal, and suddenly can't play up to your contract, sh*t ain't so funny anymore. Not when the team, projected to be among the best in the league, sits near the bottom with a 11-22 record. The ironically bad judgement of catching a gun case (the 2nd of his career, BTW), when you are a member of a team that used to be called The Washington Bullets is probably the final straw.

Soon, local and federal authorities will issue a verdict, and NBA commissioner David Stern will make an example of Arenas, probably banishing him for the balance of the season. The team will likely seek to void his contract, and Arenas will be an unemployed 30-year old gunner with a chronically bad knee. And it's so sad it all had to come to this, but it is what it is, and Gilbert has no one to blame but himself.

Thanks for the memories, Agent Zero. It's been real.

Question: What sort of suspension would you recommend for Gilbert Arenas? Is this sad, or what?

Wizards' Arenas suspended indefinitely as new details emerge in gun incident [WashPost]

[1] It should be noted, however, that Crittendon did indeed load and lock a gun in the lockerroom. His career is absolutely over.

[2] Seriously, look at the photo above. The guy is flashing gun signs, and his teammates are so used to this nonsense, all they can do is laugh.

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