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The Gilbert Arenas purge continues



Did Gilbert Arenas somehow manage to transform himself from D.C.'s undisputed most popular athlete to a public relations pariah in a span of less than three years? Well, sure he did.

But is the proper response from the Wizards to now pretend he never existed? To disappear him from the world? To purge his name from our memories? He's been suspended, not exiled to a Siberian labor camp.

His image is gone from the Verizon Center's wall, replaced by the image above (via NBC Washington). You can download computer wallpaper of Fabricio Oberto or Mike James, the Wizard Girls or Javaris Crittenton from the team's Web site, but not one of Gilbert. If you search for his name at the NBA's online store, you get zero results. If you try to make a customized "Arenas 0" jersey, you get this message:

"Your current entry cannot be processed. Language deemed inappropriate, derogatory, or profane will not be accepted. Please create a new entry."




And all this not because of Gilbert's guns, but because of his jokes? Look, I agreed that he needed to be stopped before he made the PR disaster even worse, but I wasn't suggesting his name be scrubbed out of the history books. Why such a banishment? Dan Le Batard offered one suggestion in a scathing column:

Stern was going to wait for due process until the Wizards got together in a huddle and almost literally laughed in his face. Oh, to have a picture of that moment, Stern seeing that photo for the first time, emotion raging inside him as he applied his 67-year-old sensibilities to seeing a bunch of his laughing servants urinating on his kingdom.

I guess the franchise is open to criticism whatever they do at this point. If they keep selling those Arenas jerseys, some cynics would make fun of them for making money off the name of a gun-toting iconoclast who's been deemed unfit to take the court. And if they disappear his name, they're open to much less damning posts. Like this one, for example.

But when you remember the marketing campaigns and the adoring crowds from, I don't know, two months ago, this all feels so disorienting. Gilbert, getting the Michael Vick treatment? Gilbert's very name judged offensive, even while the NBA online store still lets you make customized J. Williams kits? Gilbert, considered more of a PR liability than DeShawn Stevenson? Never would have guessed that.




(These are some of the available Wiz wallpapers. No franchise player.)





(Here's a new Arenas t-shirt from Twoeightnine Design.)





(And here's an Arenas Bullets throwback from Fleur de Los. Good luck finding one of these.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 11, 2010; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Shanahan and the Bush family

Comments

Looks like he's getting the 1984/Big Brother treatment (not that it's the govt doing it, but this is exactly what the protagonists' job was to do)

Posted by: Daspig | January 11, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Search for "O.J." on the buffalobills.com website, and you get 15 hits.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 11, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

If you're wondering what Abe would be more ashamed of, the gun incident itself or the team's transparent, moralistic renouncement of the center of the franchise over an ill-conceived-yet-victimless prank...it'd be the latter.

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | January 11, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

If you make 147k per game and you blow it over a couple grand, you are beyond moronic. And who is his biggest supporter? The 2nd biggest moron on the team...

Good Grief Charlie Brown, you are SUCH a blockhead...

Posted by: kahlua87 | January 11, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Is this purge Stern-related or more about the Pollin family who must feel that Arenas spit in Abe Pollin's face with his behavior? Whether we look at Arenas' behavior as illegal or juvenile, it crossed a line and was, ultimately, a huge betrayal of all that Abe Pollin and the Wizards have invested in him.

Posted by: JohnnyU2Berry | January 11, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

JohnnyU2Berry said:

Is this purge Stern-related or more about the Pollin family who must feel that Arenas spit in Abe Pollin's face with his behavior? Whether we look at Arenas' behavior as illegal or juvenile, it crossed a line and was, ultimately, a huge betrayal of all that Abe Pollin and the Wizards have invested in him.
--------------------------

I think you hit the nail right down the center of the head.

Posted by: richs91 | January 11, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse


I'm a big G A supporter, except those weird shots he'd attempt that were getting the team out of sync with increasing frequency ... but man I cannot easily forgive his crazy antics. These were a serious cry for help (he already had attention) I don't want to see him back without some sort of 'counseling' for his own sake ...not for the unforgiving haters or the envious ones; but many athletes need more than applause, they are humans not our gladiators (right)?

Posted by: aypub | January 11, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

While I cannot defend Gilbert's conduct in this incident, I would like Mr. Stern to explain to me how it is that Delonte West is currently playing after being arrested on the Beltway, armed to the teeth and driving erratically?

Posted by: jrwise52 | January 11, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

JohnnyU2Berry said:

Is this purge Stern-related or more about the Pollin family who must feel that Arenas spit in Abe Pollin's face with his behavior? Whether we look at Arenas' behavior as illegal or juvenile, it crossed a line and was, ultimately, a huge betrayal of all that Abe Pollin and the Wizards have invested in him.
--------------------------

Nail ---> Head I think this is it and considering the timing makes it harder.

Looks like the Wiz will make a serious attempt to part ways with him.

Posted by: HollywoodPlayboy | January 11, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"Is this purge Stern-related or more about the Pollin family who must feel that Arenas spit in Abe Pollin's face with his behavior? Whether we look at Arenas' behavior as illegal or juvenile, it crossed a line and was, ultimately, a huge betrayal of all that Abe Pollin and the Wizards have invested in him."

I think this is a very valid statement, after all the Polin's changed the name of thier franchise over the very thing that Gil "joked" about.

Oh, that and they gave the guy $111 mil to sit at home for TWO YEARS and he repaid them by slapping them in the face. They *could* have let the guy walk but they showed him loyalty that he never showed them.

I don't know if I wouldn't be doing the same thing if I owned the team. Wait...I would never have given that fat contract to begin with and let him go to Golden State.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 11, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I think it is time that Arenas files a grievance. He's been convicted of nothing, Stern's suspension seems very questionable indeed, and at the least he'd force the Bullzards to fish or cut bait on whether they are going to stand behind him or not.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 11, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards are pathetic. Due process?? What's that? They are trying to erase Gilbert Arenas from there memory. What happened to supporting your players in good times and bad times.

Arenas made a mistake, but no one was hurt and now he is just a vague memory.....

later

Posted by: punchdaclock | January 11, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The obligation of being a paid professional athlete and the all encompassing responsibility of being a moral compass as well as a role model should never be understated. Tiger Woods will never get the endorsements he once did for being a liar and down the road with the upcoming testimony of the Steroid Doctors assistant we may find out that Tiger has been doping for many years while lying or cheating the PGA Commissioner.
Having read all the pranks and tricks Arenas pulled on his teammates through the years, I am surprised somebody did not beat the living daylights out of him, and now his poor judgment regarding brandishing his handguns against a teammate...well that is plain stupidity. The Wizards don't need Arenas anymore, he is a liability in more ways than one and personally I would love to see him working at the car wash wiping down cars on a 0 degree day.

Posted by: jamesjiven55gmailcom | January 11, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely have no problem with what the league or the team does moving forward or is currently doing regarding Arenas. He's a dumb a$$, plain and simple.

Ultimately, there's only one person to blame for all of this. If you do the incredibly and unblievabley moronic 'crime', you do the time.

Argue this or that, tit or tat, too much or not enough, etc, etc, etc. If he never plays again in the NBA, there's only ONE person to blame...

I say good riddance to good rubbish. In my opinion, he's just one of the poster boys for everything that's wrong with this league.

Posted by: BigDeck | January 11, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I have a regular office job in DC, and lets just say, one day I decided to bring a few guns in and lock them in my drawer. What would you think would happen if I took them out to play a prank on a co-worker?

I would be fired on the spot, escorted out of the building and probably put in jail, eventually sued, and who know what else.

I have no sympathy for this guy. He is not above the law, he broke the rules of his contract, the NBA and his team. Cry me a river. Why are we even discussing this?

Posted by: buzcajun | January 11, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Let us not forget that by his own admission Arenas broke DC guns laws. Look how many normal kids are in jail for breaking that same law. So by going easy on Arenas we teach these kids who idolize the atheletes that it's OK to joke around with guns, but also that the rules don't apply to everyone. And if I hear one more person say parents should be the idols, well a lot of these kids don't have parents present!

Posted by: Terpfan205 | January 11, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

He did it all to himself and reportedly was going to do more. A good piece in the Examiner. I found it on Metro on the way to the game yesterday.

Posted by: ridgely1 | January 11, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Why can not the legal aides, agents, friends and family intervene and give guys like Arenas a wake-up call early in life so they don't ruin their lives after achieving a successful career based on huge athletic skills? To lose self-respect, $140,000/game, etc is so stupid -

Posted by: giuseppe59 | January 11, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

If the Wizards were contending, we never would have gotten a whiff of this story.

This is about getting his contract off the books.

Arenas will be a star in this league again. Other GMs probably can't wait to scoop him up. He's our leading scorer and he's playing on one good knee. Next year, he'll be a terror.

And Ernie will wish he hadn't jumped the gun.

Posted by: SteveBuckhantz | January 11, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Washington is showing just how stupid they are in the front office.

Gilbert will be exonerated of all of this and whether or not the Wizards will keep him won't lessen the value Gilbert has on someone's NBA team.

Like someone else expressed here...how in the St. Joe's does Delonte West continue to play for Cleveland being more strapped than the Terminator and Gilbert is made the poster boy for playing a joke on Crittendon?

Why isn't Crittendon being punished for his part in all of this?

It's going to be very interesting to see how all of this plays out...nothing more than Stern trying to appease the many ultra-sensitive organizations knocking down his door asking for justice to be done when far worse has been carried out by other NBA players.

Gilbert, hang in there bro...there are those who are still with and for you.

Posted by: cbmuzik | January 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Zero's picture is still on the team's website. He needs to be purged from the team! HE SHAT IN SOMEONE'S SHOE!
THAT'S NASTY!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | January 11, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course Arenas will be back. Reading all the comments and media fire about Vick after the dog fighting ring you would have thought he would be in federal prison right now...nope he's back in the NFL.

Americans have very very very short memories.

Posted by: Southeasterner | January 11, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

arenas was overrated to begin with. this thing is a blessing in disguise as now they can try and void his contract.

Posted by: slim4 | January 11, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Abe Pollin's family ought to be ashamed of themselves. They haven't the faintest clue how to run a franchise in the aftermath of Pollin's death. I will no longer give a penny of my money to the Wizards organization nor to the NBA until this nonsense and character assassination of Gilbert Arenas stops.

I don't recall Abe Pollin doing much when Chris Webber was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana and five other traffic-related violations after being pulled over for speeding on the way to practice at the then-MCI Center.

I don't recall Abe Pollin doing much when Jerry Stackhouse was charged with assault in a dispute over a rental contract in which, clearly, Stackhouse was in the wrong.

I don't recall Abe Pollin doing much when Juwan Howard and Chris Webber were accused of sexual assault against a woman.

I don't recall Abe Pollin doing much more than a 1-game suspension when Rod Strickland was arrested for a DUI, nor the second time Strickland was arrested, nor the 3rd time he was arrested. Nor do I recall Pollin doing much when Strickland was arrested a 4th time for refusing to leave a night club that was being shut down by fire marshals.

I don't recall Abe Pollin doing much when Andray Blatche was arrested for reckless driving. Nor I do recall Pollin doing much when Blatche was arrested for sexual solicitation. In fact, as I recall, Abe Pollin and the Wizards offered Blatche a new contract shortly thereafter.

Ah.....the double standards. The politically correct, anti-2nd Amendment, goons who have decided to go after Gilbert Arenas for an innocent mistake in which he has not even been charged with a crime are the real villains in this controversy--not Arenas.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Good thing Mark was only LYING to Congress and not taking BRIBES. How about we trade Arenas for McGwire? Five years after famously dodging questions about steroids during a nationally televised Congressional hearing, Mark McGwire admitted on Monday to using them throughout his career.

Posted by: kstobbe1 | January 11, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Why would someone want to download computer wallpaper of Oberto or James?

Posted by: Theone9 | January 11, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm most concerned about Gil's leftover fecal matter at Verizon as opposed to his image. But that's me.

Posted by: Cricketslayer | January 11, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I can't even put him on the Bobcats. Nor is the last name tied to a number; any custom jersey with Arenas on it gets blocked. Way to blast all the Mr and Mrs Arenases out there from the fan base, Mr. Stern. You'll pay for this one!

Posted by: WorstSeat | January 11, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I read a lot of posts here that seem to indicate the Wizards and the NBA are unfairly teating Arenas. Lets look at the main points.
1. Mr Arenas brought a number of guns from Virgina into the District across state lines. That's against the law in the District and just about every other state.
2. He took the guns to the Verizon Center and put them in his locker. That's against the collective bargaining aggrement between the players union and the NBA. You have to wonder what went on in the past that would lead to a specific entry in the aggreement on having guns in the locker room.
3. He, while under investigation for the gun charges, is shown laughing and 'shooting' his teammates. While this was not illegal it showed that Gilbert Arenas didn't care about the charges.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | January 11, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Trivia for those will extra time: at the NBA website, you can't put "Arenas 0" on a jersey, but you can put any of the following:
"Agent Zero 0";
"Arena 0";
"Arena s 0"

Posted by: Hobbes3 | January 11, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, I am a 22 year season ticket holder that is tired of sitting through 30 win (or less) seasons. What Gil did was wrong. But a 10 game suspension would be more in line. If he's not back with the team, I will not be a 23 year season ticket holder.

Posted by: original2cents | January 11, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"Arenas will be a star in this league again. Other GMs probably can't wait to scoop him up."

Everyone on here who thinks this is nuts.

Even before the Wiz re-signed him the word on him was that he was "uncoachable" and that proved to be true. Ask Eddie Jordan.

Also, maybe you all should read Mike Lee/Wise's article about "enabling" Gil. I assure you it will be an eye opener.

That dude needs Prozac or something. Something is worng with that guy.

"If he's not back with the team, I will not be a 23 year season ticket holder."

Sure you will. Ted Leonsis will have the team by then and Grunfeld will be fired. Things will get better. Until then we all suffer. You can blame as much on EG as you can Gilbert.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 11, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

"This is about getting his contract off the books."

---

Ding ding ding, exactly. We're making educated guesses without examining the contract, but surely it contains a clause allowing Les Boulez to terminate the agreement in the event that Arenas engages in illegal behavior, etc.

No wonder the team is enthusiastically cooperating.

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | January 11, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

3. He, while under investigation for the gun charges, is shown laughing and 'shooting' his teammates. While this was not illegal it showed that Gilbert Arenas didn't care about the charges.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | January 11, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Wrong. As Gilbert has since said, the playful nature in which he "joked" about the incident was a reaction to the press's attempt to paint him as a thug. And no, there is nothing wrong whatsoever with using the word "thug" to describe a criminal, regardless of skin color (despite what Wise would have you believe).

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards are really upsetting me with their actions. Everyone knows Arenas had to be stopped for everyone's good, but this is excessive. Arenas deserves to serve some time on suspension, but then I want to see a smarter, mature Arenas leading this basketball team again. To try to erase his existence is a slap in the face as a huge Wizards and Gilbert Arenas fan.

Posted by: djnumb | January 11, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

NO. and the Wizard made one big mistake by not backing there player. they didn,t have to like what he did but the should had had his back. and if you think other player can,t see this. they will have a very hard time getting player to play for them. Arenas will have no problem getting wit a nother team if there no jail time and at his pay. Spurs, Suns, hornet, Knicks, Nets, Kings,Nuggets,heck a lot of teams will take his for he a top five scorer

Posted by: lostdogrwd1011 | January 11, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

This is what Gilbert gets for attempting to appease whitey and giving them a hometown discount on his contract.

Posted by: waterboard | January 11, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Nail ----> Head regarding Arenas

Tracy Morgan says:

Little TV sets, goin' off inside my ear
Spaceman floating by
Firecracker beer
Chased a demon's lightning
Music hits your eye
Up and down the sidewalk
Take a Doo Doo Pie
I Love You

I believe this says it all!

Posted by: johng1 | January 11, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Why would someone want to download computer wallpaper of Oberto or James?

Posted by: Theone9 | January 11, 2010 5:36 PM

-------------------------------------------

Losing a gambling debt - a couple thousdand dollars

Joking and pulling a gun on a teammate - indefinite suspension without pay

Having an Orberto and James Wallpaper while you don't- PRICELESS !!!!

LOL

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | January 11, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

IN KNEW IT!!!!!!

If I were a betting person, I would ahve put money on the table - give this 1 1/2 weeks, let the air clear, & people will begin to see how this was

a) an over reaction
b) a way to get out of the $80M or whatever the number is

NO ONE is saying that Arenas handled the situation in the best manner, but COME ON NOW - Stern suspended Arenas w/o an ending in sight/writing b/c he he being exactly what the Wizards org has promoted him as - the the fun loving, playful, prankster that can score 60 against Kobe.. oh wait - he has not made his way back {YET} to the player he was before the knee injury. Two yrs off of your job will do that to you. I ama teacher & the two wks for winter break required an easing back into period..

The Wizards are WRONG for trying to completely delete Arenas from their lives (BTW - you can still order Arenas gear on the Wiz shop online... go figure). I am not saying this b/c I am a fan, but a logical person. When you react based on emotion, you usually have to back pedal to save face. Stern & the Wiz org better get their protective head & knee gear ready...

Posted by: 2StepsAway | January 11, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

gil,tell the wiz to kiss your a--,because that organization is a joke,especially with middle of the road ernie picking players and handling the draft.you havent been convicted,yet they treat you like you have been.also,if egg sucking sterns keeps you dangling too long,then WAVE BYE BYE TO THE NBA,and take your game to europe,where im sure they will welcome you and your gamesmanship with open arms(and wallets).the prissy,stuck-up goody 3 shoes that are being catered to right now by this organization and the nba will probably always have a burr up the a-- because of this,so save youself the aggravation and roll-out

Posted by: billydee123 | January 11, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

wow - just a month ago gilbert was the wizard most generous to the community with his time, his money, and his concern. and in a blink he's become "out of control" and "needs to be stopped" because of one bad joke (and my understanding is that gil was loaning crittenton the guns so crit could shoot gil in the knee, not threatening anybody but himself). what is with you people that you've turned so harshly on the guy? jealousy that he makes big money for elite skills and you don't? remember he could have made even more, but took less so the team could sign another player and be more competitive. i can understand why he laughs, the situation is so overblown that it's laughably absurd.

i hope he's back in uniform soon. not because the team needs him so much, this season looks like a wreck already, but because i would like to see his hard work at rehab rewarded and our patience as fans waiting for him to come back rewarded as well. he's the most exciting player the organization has had since...who...bernard king? and i think he's a good guy at heart (but i would keep an eye on my shoes whenever he's around).

Posted by: rm0659 | January 11, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

This whole episode would bet a lot worse if the team had been winning with Gilbert. But they were not, making the $100M+ contract a very bad deal for the Wizards.

As good as Gilbert was in the past, he is a shell of the player he once was. He lacks the burst of speed and the confidence that made him so good, and his antics now, lack of leadership, and failures at the end of the games make him a real liability.

The Wizards should use this opportunity to void his contract, save that money to land some good free agents who will make him a distant memory.

I used to really like him, but now I just want to have him go away. Look how much better the team plays without him, more cohesive and focused. They still need a few pieces to become good again, and his contract dollars can make that happen.

With his contract money still tied up, the Wizards can't really get better. And if they aren't winning with Gilbert, Jamison and Caron, with Haywood playing his best ever, and with great new pieces like Foye and Boykins, what's the point?

Posted by: mandelm2001 | January 12, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"If you try to make a customized "Arenas 0" jersey, you get this message..."

By Dan Steinberg | January 11, 2010; 11:01 AM

"0 Caliber" worked fine. That's what we should start calling him. 0 Caliber Arenas. In honor of the 0 caliber judgment he continually displays. Great talent, but just can't stop putting his foot into his mouth. Worse than VP Biden when it comes to the gaffe.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | January 12, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The problem with this whole situation is that the media has driven a lot of public opinion and public opinion has driven Stern(the NBA) and Grunfeld(the Wizards) to react by suspending Arenas.

If you understand being of God or being of "the world", you will understand that the media is a representation of "the world".

Because it is written that "let he who have not sinned, cast the first stone." The media is throwing stones at Gilberts career. Trying to stone it to death. But it is also written that if "you judge(someones heart), you will be judged at with the same level that you judge."

Gilbert needs to be punished. I am not saying that.

When you find yourself aligning yourself with "the world", you'd better be careful.

Posted by: G-Man11 | January 12, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I am not saying he shouldn't be punished. But don't overkill.

Posted by: G-Man11 | January 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Delonte West was caught in Maryland. Different gun laws in Maryland than in Washington, D.C.

Posted by: NothingButTheTruth | January 12, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Delonte West is still playing because he is on Lebron's team.

Posted by: Cratchit | January 12, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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