Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Why Arenas was unfit to take the court

If you accept the fact that NBA players fiddling around with firearms in the locker room--whether loaded or unloaded, whether seriously or in jest--is an image problem, then you have to judge Arenas unfit to take the floor. Here's why, in six stages.

1) JOKE. After the incident went down, and Gilbert's gun possession in the locker room became public, he made a jumper against Memphis and then playfully holstered his pretend weapons. Now, the world hadn't yet heard about the locker room incident in any detail, and most of us were still taking him at his word that he was just trying to get the guns out of his house, but Gilbert and his teammates all knew what had happened. To anyone paying attention, the message was clear: Gilbert still believed this entire episode to be a hilarious joke.

2) APOLOGY Whatever your feelings on what Gilbert did, and whose fault it might have been, he caused his league--and, more importantly, his franchise--a serious public PR bruising. The only time he even came close to acknowledging that was in his Official Apology, which wasn't even written by him. Still, it got the point across:

Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong. I should not have brought the guns to DC in the first place, and I now realize that there's no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns -- even if unloaded.

I am very sorry for the effect that my serious lapse in judgment has had on my team, my teammates, the National Basketball Association and its fans. I want to apologize to everybody for letting them down with my conduct, and I promise to do better in the future.

3) HAHAHAHAHAHAHA With the whole world paying attention, and with many of his fans just praying for him to hide in some old barn and be quiet for a few days, he launched one of the most bizarre and inappropriate series of Tweets imaginable, considering the circumstances. The tone, if nothing else, immediately undermined his apology. This really wasn't the time for jokes about different colored people throwing paraplegics into the ocean, nor was it the time for gauntlet-chucks like this: "pls dont take what i say serious or i will piss off from time 2 time becuz i dont hav a filter on my jokes."

4) UN-APOLOGY But if that wasn't enough, Gilbert came right out and unapologized on Tuesday night. "If I really did something wrong, I would feel remorse in what I did, but I didn't do anything," he said. Whether his behavior was or wasn't wrong, the result for his employer was clearly terrible, which was worth apologizing over. Once he publicly rescinded his apology, he was just playing chicken with the NBA, completely invalidating his statement and daring the powers-that-be to respond.

(NBAE/Getty Images)

5) BANG-BANG For sheer impact, though, the above image from Wednesday's pre-game huddle just beats all. What a monumental, colossal, skull-crushingly bad idea that was.

6) NON-APOLOGY But first, one more failed apology, again via Gilbert's Twitter:

I know everybody seen the pre game teammate thought to break the tention 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..

If you don't believe bringing weapons into the workplace is a hilarious joke, and your PR strategy does not include fire-hosing lighter fluid onto raging dumpster infernos, it was time to end this thing.

As for the rest of us, well, I'd refer you to former assistant coach Dave Hopla's blog.

"Crazy happenings in Washington, DC," he wrote this week. "It will be interesting to see how this is handled by the WIZARDS and the NBA. Thank GOD that I am no longer involved with them."

Unfortunately, the rest of us are stuck here.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 6, 2010; 5:11 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gilbert Arenas stars in PETA ad
Next: Snyder: "The awesome"


Oh that Gilbert Arenas, what a terrible human being:

Oh man that Agent Zero, what a selfish criminal:

Oh that damn Arenas kid, he's always up to no good:

Oh boy we sure do need less guys like Gilbert Arenas in this world:

Oh this Hibachi character sure does ruin a lot of people's lives:

Oh the world would be such a better place if only Gilbert Arenas were behind bars:

Posted by: Barno1 | January 6, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I just pray that the NBA players union goes absolutely nuts over this. What a total mockery of due process, of being innocent until proven guilty, and of the 1st and 2nd Amendment.

The NBA is a complete and total disgrace for destroying this otherwise good human being's career and reputation.

It is almost inconceivable that the politically correct goons at the NBA commissioner's office simply refused to take any discretion nor take into any consideration the clear fact that Gilbert Arenas is not a danger nor a threat to anyone. The simple fact is these elitist goons despise guns and gun ownership and have decided to make an example out of an otherwise good human being.

I am not saying Arenas should not be punished for violating the NBA's rules. But the punishment should fit the crime, and in this instance the NBA apparently feels that bringing an unloaded gun into a locker room is reason enough to destroy this person, regardless of any of the circumstances.

I am done with the NBA until Arenas is reinstated.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 6, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Barno, the "politically correct goons at the NBA commissioner's office" are responsible for building the NBA into a global entertainment industry that can pay athletes like Arenas 100 million dollars. Regardless of his true character or his other good works, this public relations fiasco is threatening everyone's paycheck. No doubt the league and the club were pleading with him to shut up. The league was helping him out by having security confiscate anti-Gilbert signs from fans at the arenas. And he basically gave Stern the finger with his fake gun play antics before the game last night.

Stern had no choice.

Posted by: Delle | January 6, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Barno1, I get the point you are trying to make. And I am sure no one thinks that Gilbert is truly a reprehensible human being. He has done a lot of good in the community. But that isn't the problem here. The problem is that he is not taking this legal matter as serious as he needs to be.

He brought guns on to an NBA facility which is a NO-NO clearly laid out in the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

He is presenting an image to the world with his most recent actions and comments that he doesn't think the rules apply to him. He may not have thought he was breaking the law in DC but it doesn't matter what he thinks. It matters how the law is interpreted by attorneys and judges. And the gun laws in DC are serious.

I am sure if Gilbert had shown himself to be a true adult about the situation and understood the serious nature of it than the media wouldn't be trying to crucify him with some much prejudice and David Stern probably would have given him the benefit of the doubt and waited to suspend him.

It doesn't appear that this situation has hit home with him just yet.

My question is where is Gil Sr. in all of this. He seems to be the one person that is able to reach Gilbert and set him straight.

Posted by: jonnyflo14 | January 6, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barno, Bring an unloaded gun to your work and see what happens. I am sure the ``I was just crackin jokes'' response would work just fine and you wouldnt get fired.

Posted by: WheresRickySanders | January 6, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

This is a PR nightmare. Gilbert should lay low and start doing charity work to rebuild his image. IF he's contrite & works at building his positive public image, he might be able to avoid jail time. He's looking at 4 felony charges because the guns weren't licensed. Yikes.

He could be in a Plaxico Burress situation here.

Posted by: dmorgan6617 | January 6, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert should be punished for violating league rules and that punishment should be both proportional to the violation and consistent with the punishment imposed for similar violations by others in the past.

It seems, however, that the Commissioner's office has decided to take Gilbert's other behaviour -- cited above in Dan's blog -- into account in imposing a suspension now, before the investigation of legal authorities has been completed. One can only wonder whether the positive aspects of Gilbert's actions -- turning the guns in, voluntarily undergoing questioning, removing guns from proximity to children -- received the same consideration. From a public policy perspective, I hope so -- for example, legal authorities typically encourage self-reporting and, in imposing any sanctions, would consider that those actions favorably.

Here, the league and the team had a number of choices short of suspension to address Gilbert's behaviour pending completion of the investigation -- would a public statement by members of the Pollin family (or even a private conversation with Gilbert) explaining the disrepect they felt to the legacy of Mr. Pollin from first having had guns brought to the House that Abe Built and then joking about it have led Gilbert to tone down his act while the authorities completed their work?

Having waited this long after the incident to mete out punishment, the league and the team now appear not to be punishing the actual rule violation but to be punishing Gilbert for who he is and his need to hide behind his version of humor. If that is a punishable offense, I would hope that the next player, coach or executive to use a finger in public for gestures other than a fake gun also receives a suspension for being offensive.

Posted by: post-darwinism | January 6, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

He knew (or should have known) that he was pushing the line with the simulated pistol shooting, at that point he forced stern's hand because his actions and tweets were not in line with his public statement. everyone knows this was just a really bad joke that led to misreporting and ultimately a public and obvious violation of the law. it would have all blown over but for that picture. but it doesn't matter, he violated a bright line workplace safety rule (that is neither absurd nor unreasonable and happens to be in a subject area the league is trying to change perceptions on) and by continuing to publicize and trivialize the matter through actions and jokes he was directly thumbing his nose at the CEO and egging for an ever longer suspension. at this point this suspension is probably the best move since hopefully it gives everyone time to cool their heads.

it's a real shame. based on the bits we know about Gilbert's personality and personal history I would guess that these sorts of jokes (post initial incident) are merely his coping mechanism and are meant to be somewhat self-deprecating. nevertheless, because of the publicity this is no longer about gilbert arenas but about 300+ NBA players and corporate sponsorships.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | January 6, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse


I think it's a 100 percent certainty both the NBA and the Wizards organization were having "private conversations" with Gilbert trying to get him to tone it down.

Posted by: Delle | January 6, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

As for the photo that got Gil suspended: One upside... Jamison is front and center in the photo laughing, so his holier-than-thou act won't exactly fly any longer. Also, just on a side note, could those guys be laughing more? I mean, seriously, every single one of them is laughing to the ultimate degree they could possibly laugh. It is krazy how much fun they're having. Not that it means anything - just think it's kinda funny.

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

jonnyflo14..I agree with you!

Tracy, Status Now

Posted by: Statusnow9 | January 6, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

1. Let the DC justice take it's course. Some jail is likely, given the laws.

2. Suspend him for 1 year starting now.

3. Void his contract on the morals/illegal behavior clause. Wizards owe him nothing on the remainder of the contract. (Let him sue...the CBA gives the commissioner total power in these cases.)

Once he get's out of jail and his suspension is up, he can apply for readmission to the league and sign with whatever team will have him at whatever contract price he can get.

Prediction: it won't be $111 million. How funny will THAT be, Gilbert?

Posted by: bff4261 | January 6, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Geez, even Andray Blatche is laughing, and that dude's actually been shot.

Posted by: TS1231 | January 6, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Void his contract and suspend him from playing for another year after this.

Then suspend each Wizard who participated in the finger pistol act for two games each.

Crappy team for two years now and they think this is funny? Hit 'em in the wallet and ship 'em out of town.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | January 6, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It is so very frustrating to hear all the antics of one GA. I mmust say I have taken a lot of heat for all the defending of him that I have been doing this season. I actually purchased seasos tickets again this year ,expecting GA to return and to lead this Wizards teamto some exciting victories and upsets . Now I am truly upset and have no words ,other that to say as a season ticket holder (retired at that),which makes it very difficult I will forfeit the rest of the season and lose my invest ,not to mention myself and my wife's outing a few times a week. Where do fans such as myself go from here,(look at the product out there tonight) unbelievable. I just wanted to vent with really not a whole lot to say. Hopefully the organization get a break of some kind and get us something to cheer for.

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | January 6, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

From those identified in the picture all of them were laughing, e.g. AJ, NY,RF,AB, etc. I hope Saunders was not laughing.

All of them need to go and than I might be a Wizard fan again.

Those who say wait for do process I just mean wait until someone is shot. The due process was in the labor contract that no guns allowed.

Players Union see how you defend that. If the players union defends this than we know what side of the law there are in and contributing to bad behavior. They are destroying themselves. Who wants our children looking up to these NBA players. Can anyone one name an acceptable NBA role model?

Posted by: NewbillJT | January 7, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Boy, I didn't realize barno was an apologist for TWO franchises.

The due process/First Am/2nd Am (WHAT?) rights arguments are gibberish. There's a labor agreement, with very specific rights and responsibilities. Not a close call. Now, if they try to void the contract . . . different story. But the suspension is an easy call, and WELL within the Commissioner's powers.

Barno, you can like or not like gun laws, but they're out there. Just like the labor agreement.

Posted by: Gunga2009 | January 7, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

These are the types of actions that people with MAJOR psychological issues perform. I hope he gets help.

I still don't think he ever meant malice or harm to anyone else, but I think, without professional help right now, he could hurt himself, or worse...

The Wizards are going to be able to void the contract, get ride of him, and all that in due time. Right now, they need to get him help. If not, this could get even uglier.

If his actions aren't a cry for help, I don't know what would be.

Posted by: colerwilson | January 7, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

@ bossclifnpooh2

go to a caps games, watch them win a game in front of a sold-out stadium, and go home happy like the rest of us do every game-night. while this is going on and the skins have their own issues, the caps are winning their division, naming ovechkin as a captain, and making trades to try and win the cup this year.

do yourself and your wife a favor, go get tickets!

Posted by: hubcop84 | January 7, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Arenas is a fruitcake and the NBA is a gutter league. Period.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 7, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse


Gilbert rules. He is hilarious, and I don't take the NBA seriously, why should I take Gil or Stern or anyone else seriously. The league is a joke, has been for years. It's like a much more graceful form of pro wrestling. And it's much more interesting when it includes Agent Zero.

This is a big issue, but not quite as big as the sensationalized version that most people were much more interested in. And not as serious as say, that Delonte West issue. You know, Delonte, the guy that played in the game last night.

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | January 7, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

...and if we had changed back to The Washington Bullets by now like we should have, all the above video/pics could be attributed to team spirit

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | January 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Gil is obviously an idiot for doing this. I think in his mind he thought it was funny. But keep in mind, this isn't nearly as severe as some of the stuff that has gotten other players in a lot less trouble. He is definitely not a thug. More of a moron than anything. And what about Crittendon? Has he been suspended yet? Assuming the latest version of the story is true, this fool should be kicked off the team immediately.

Posted by: aviscardo | January 7, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

What due process? arenas ADMITTED that he brought his unregistered guns into DC and his workplace. I think that the NBA took too long to suspend this IDIOT!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | January 7, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

What an immature jerk. I resent the fact that he is being totally disrespectful to the Pollin family, the Wizards organization, the NBA and the fans and residents of Washington DC. He deserves exactly what he gets. (Note to Mr. Arenas: your bills will continue to come in.)

Posted by: carterm1 | January 7, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Lets face it - the NBA has turned into a bunch of overpaid tatted-up thug millionaires. Who wants to pay $50 a seat to see that? The league has a major image problem, and Arenas just made it a helluva lot worse. Stern was not only right in suspending Arenas, he should also suspend a few of the Wizards teamates and clean up the image of the league. If not, it's going to turn more and more into a fringe league appealing to a small demographic like soccer or Nascar.

Posted by: arlingtonliberal | January 7, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Millionaire black man with gun = Thug
Millionaire white man with gun = 2nd Amendment

Don't use the word, unless you're willing to use it when Brett Favre gets caught packing heat.

Posted by: mabkhar | January 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company