Commissioner David Stern intended to wait to swing the hammer down on Gilbert Arenas for the episode involving him and teammate Javaris Crittenton Christmas Eve.
For those not into the guns-ablazin' tale: Arenas allegedly pulled a gun on this courtmate during an argument over a gambling debt. No the irony doesn't escape me that millionaires are pulling a full-scale John Woo (throwing down guns sideways), over thousands in gambling debt.
In a statement released today Stern apparently had a very quick change of heart (possibly caused by public perception?):
I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation involving the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department, and the consideration of this matter by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia. For the same reason, I directed the Wizards to refrain from taking any action.So much for that. Stern continued his statement with:
Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBAgame. Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.Ouch! Currently not fit
Hell, even Al Sharpton took aim at Arenas in the New York Daily News:
The NBA needs to stand up and send a strong message by dealing with this situation,” Sharpton told the Daily News. He also chided black leadership groups for not speaking out about the “culture of violence being perpetuated in professional sports.That would be the Al Sharpton of the Tawana Brawley controversy, folks. When you have Sharpton arguing against you, you've...ummm...yeah, well you get it.
Sharpton cited former Giant Plaxico Burress as an example of professional athletes run amok.
This all happened in the Verizon Center?” Sharpton said. “This is the same place where the Obamas watched a Wizards game (on Feb. 27, 2009). You telling me that he had guns in the locker room when Obama went to the game?
Some would argue the same about Delonte West, but don't get too far ahead of the game (Alan T.) The circumstances are vastly different than what happened to West.
West's incident didn't occur during the course of the NBA season. Nor did he bring his firearms to work. Lastly, whether anyone wants to admit it, extenuating circumstances exists around West's legal problems.
At least one NBA insider agrees. Arenas doesn't suffer from any known mental illness and while they both acted with extremely poor judgment, from everything I know, there is no way to explain away pulling a gun on a teammate.
Fire away, the bullseye is on my chest, back, forehead. Bad pun intended.
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