The People's Court: Arenas edition
By Lee Friedman
As the son of a licensed mental health professional (mother) and an unlicensed mental health professional (father is a divorce lawyer), I’d like to think I’m sensitive to those who have mental problems. I’m not sure what the DSM-IV diagnosis is for having a screw loose, but Gilbert Arenas definitely has a chronic case of it. For those of you that don’t follow the Wizards as closely as some, here it is in a nutshell. On Tuesday night Arenas told his coach that his thrice-surgically repaired knee was a little sore and he wanted to rest it that night. Coach Flip Saunders started Nick Young in his place. After the game Arenas bragged to the press that he had lied to his coach and his knee was actually fine, he just wanted to get some more playing time for Young, who he felt hadn’t been given the opportunity to show his ability in the preseason thus far. He said he was “sacrificing” for his teammate.
You’d think spending time in jail on a felony charge might encourage you to take your life/your job/your interactions with others a little more seriously. Apparently not for Agent Sacrifice (Dishonest Arenas didn’t quite have the same rhythm). If this were any other athlete, you’d think it was just an idiotic decision. But with Arenas, it continues in a long line of idiotic decisions.
Since Gilbert seems to be familiar with the legal system and in honor of my father I’ll break this down by the aggrieved parties who should be considering legal action against Mr. Arenas, aka The Defendant. I bet Peter Angelos would do this class-action pro bono:
Flip Saunders: Gilbert has singlehandedly managed to neuter his coach in front of his teammates, management, and the public. It took LeBron years to do that to Mike Brown. How much credibility does Flip have after being publicly manipulated by one of his key players? Gilbert basically let everyone know that he has the ability to decide who plays. When a coach has to state that he makes decisions about who starts (as Flip did), he’s already lost the fight.
Wizards teammates: Granted it’s pre-season, but since the team has so many new players, they need to spend as much time together on the court as they can. Instead of setting an example for the younger players, he snubs his nose at them and sends them off to play without him. Also, how many of the fringe guys were thinking “man it would have been nice for him to do that for me.”
Nick Young: As an accomplice in this Nick doesn’t have much standing for a lawsuit. If Gilbert did tell him ahead of time about this stunt, you’d think Nick would have enough self-respect to tell him he can earn the playing time on his own. There has been much talk about Gil mentoring Nick over the course of his career, treating him as a little brother. Well you might as well let Charlie Sheen raise your kid -- his or her life would probably end up like Nick’s career so far: underachieving, one-dimensional, long-term job prospects diminishing each year, along with some questionable haircut choices.
The Fans: Ted Leonsis should immediately refund the money for every single ticket that was sold for that game. It was the first home game and everyone was excited to see in-person this “fresh start” that the Wizards have been selling. Instead it’s like Groundhog Day. I know there are a lot of Wizards fans out there who remember each of Gilbert’s aborted comebacks over the last three years, where he would say that he would play, and then at the last minute beg off. The disappointment continues…
Ted Leonsis: …which brings me to Uncle Ted (no we aren’t related, but he just seems like your rich uncle doesn’t he?). I’ve been vocal in giving Arenas a second chance to prove himself, and Uncle Ted seems to be on the same page. Gil loves to complain about feeling betrayed when people aren’t there for him after one of his screw-ups. Did it ever occur to him that there might be a slight chance that the decisions he makes actually impact the way people treat him?
The Wizards fined Arenas, which is a good place to start, but if I were Uncle Ted, I’d suspend Gil for at least a couple of regular season games to teach him a lesson. I mean it worked with Pavlov’s dogs right?
Box Seats blogger
| October 15, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories: Lee Friedman, Wizards | Tags: Lee Friedman, Wizards
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