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Posted at 8:31 AM ET, 01/ 7/2010

What Gilbert Arenas should do now: Help schools

By Valerie Strauss

The real shame of the Gilbert Arenas mess isn’t that the Washington Wizards are going to be indefinitely losing his talents. (They weren’t winning much with him anyway.)

And it isn’t that anybody is losing an exemplary role model. If anybody had actually looked up to this clown in any heroic way, well, they need to get glasses.

No, the real shame is that the D.C. area public schools won’t be getting any more of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Arenas and the owners of the Wizards have donated over the past few years through a formula based on the number of points Arenas makes during games.

Now that Arenas has been suspended by the National Basket Association indefinitely without pay because he brought guns into the locker room and acted like a jerk afterward, I know what he should do next for redemption of a sort.

The NBA should make Arenas PLAY indefinitely without pay and hand over his huge salary to public schools, which are aching for more help.

After every game, he should make a public announcement about how much money went that week to the public schools and apologize for cavalierly promoting a culture of violence.

When he is off the court, he should get whatever help he needs and then travel around schools talking about the stupidity of playing around with guns.

Come to think of it, it’s too bad this approach wasn’t considered by Tiger Woods and the companies that cut sponsoring ties with him because of his philandering.

I don’t know about the suggestion by FOX commentator Brit Hume that Woods find redemption by giving up Buddhism and finding Jesus Christ, but think about what good would have been done for the schools--and the image of Woods AND those companies--if the millions of dollars involved in those sponsorships had instead been donated to schools.

We live in a culture that lavishly rewards people who are expert at handling balls on different surfaces but essentially cheats teachers with low pay and unreasonable expectations.

It’s time that these priorities get turned around 180 degrees. If this sorry Arenas episode shows us anything, it certainly shows us THAT.

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By Valerie Strauss  | January 7, 2010; 8:31 AM ET
Tags:  gilbert arenas, public schools, tiger woods  
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As a FORMER NBA fan, were David Stern smart enough to actually implement Valerie's idea, I might actually watch a game again!

Posted by: johnson10 | January 7, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

This is really a great idea!
Talk about logical consequences!
Sportsmanship, the opportunity
to explore and learn about character
is endless here. Who hasn't made a
mistake? Learning from them and turning
oneself around is the key to life.
Hope some power that be sees your idea
and makes it a reality.

Posted by: Peppered | January 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I hope Arenas does exactly what you suggest.

And I hope that DC schools show their children that character matters more than money and refuse to accept it.

Posted by: rpondiscio | January 7, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Why should Arenas, or Woods for that matter, go to schools and speak about the folly of waving around a gun or philandering? What I mean is, they can do whatever they want and I'm sure some schools would invite them in to give redemption speeches, but as a parent, why would I want my kids listening to their garbage? Redemption comes from contrition, not because someone is trying to have a previous adulation restored. I think any message these athletes would have to offer kids today would be nothing more than a fraud.
OTOH, I applaud an athlete like Andre Agassi. He obviously went through a difficult period (which he did not have to make public). He has shared an experience that is valuable.

Posted by: patrickmattimore1 | January 7, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Help schools in what about what they did over, over, over again. Why should Arenas help would quickly serve the problem if the NBA would help their players. He said three powerful words and they were I am sorry. Therefore let the three letters that represent basketball as in the soul searching. I am sensing Valerie...that this could be something like a could have Plaxico, Gilbert and Tiger all speaking around Black History Month at the local schools in the District. You see where it can be made into a circus of confusion. Let's call it the Guns and Romance is play on the Guns and Roses...stop laughing you know some ad-exec is reading this and going that is THE TICKET!!!!

Posted by: PowerandPride | January 8, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

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