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Why the Crittenton tale doesn't exonerate Gilbert

I don't know exactly who Mike Wise's sources were for his masterful story about the Gilbert-Crittenton showdown, but you have to guess it's someone who's sympathetic to Gilbert. And the idea seems to be that the truth about Crittenton--if this new version is indeed the truth--will make Gilbert look a whole lot better by comparison.

Well, here's one dissenting view. I don't think it makes Gilbert look one iota better. In fact, I'd argue it makes him look a whole lot worse, even if this new version is 100 percent accurate. Why?

Well, Gilbert's entire defense has been based on the idea that this was a joke, a prank, an idle bit of tomfoolery that only cranks like the tabloids, the NBA suits and the moralists are taking seriously. It was just silliness, see?

But if this new version is true, here's one other person who didn't think the joke was funny: Javaris Crittenton. And so, using weapons that were not supposed to be in D.C. and were not supposed to be in an NBA locker room, he provoked an already angry teammate into an act of near-violence.

"Gil is a funny-type dude," DeShawn Stevenson told Michael Lee. "Sometimes people don't take the things that you do funny."

When I read that quote, I at first assumed Stevenson was using "people" to mean David Stern. But maybe he was using it to mean Javaris Crittenton.

Sure, this new version would put Crittenton in line for punishment of his own, punishment far more severe than Gilbert's. But in terms of Gilbert himself, this new story makes it clear that it was a "joke" that immediately earned rotten tomatoes from the only person it was intended for. How leaking this story to the media is supposed to help Gilbert, I have no idea. But no one has accused his PR machine of particular effectiveness, I guess.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 7, 2010; 12:26 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: A history of Gilbert's practical jokes

Comments

Just assume the NBA is a gutter league, which it is. Then, nothing that happens with players, refs, etc. will surprise you.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 7, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/12755334/crazy-from-packing-the-heat-talk-of-arenas-lifetime-ban-is-ludicrous

here is a great article regarding the situation from someone who hasnt lost their mind over the situation

Posted by: jasonma1 | January 7, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

In an office where groupthink rules the day, Steinz has over the years never been afraid to stray from the conventional thinking in the Washington Post sports department.

When the Post was busing attacking Gary Williams and the Maryland basketball program, Steinz stood up for Gary.

When everyone else in the newsroom was piling on the Redskins for, among other things, selling tickets to brokers, Steinz was willing to look at the situation objectively and wrote a lengthy piece titled "In Which I Defend the Redskins"
(http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2009/09/in_which_i_defend_the_redskins.html)

That's why I am so surprised to see Steinz piling on Arenas in this situation. Clearly, Arenas broke an NBA rule and should be punished for it. However, very little else about this situation is clear, except the fact that Arenas is a victim of blatant lies being reported by the New York Post--which began this controversy--about him pointing a gun at his teammate over a dispute.

Apparently--at least according to the NBA and everyone who works for the Washington Post and most other media outlets covering this controversy--when guns and an NBA player are involved, you are no longer innocent until proven guilty, you no longer have a right to due process, you forfeit your right to exercise the Second Amendment, and most importantly, you have absolutely no First Amendment rights to free speech unless you say and act the way they deem appropriate.

I've said it before and I will say it again, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WILL BE THE END OF ALL OF US.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

I think it was on this blog where there was an entry about some of the old jokes Gilbert used to play in Golden State - how he once broke into a teammates house to steal his jersey or something. And Brendan Haywood had a quote like "that's not funny, that's breaking and entering."

Do you know what I'm talking about? I'd love to read it again, but my Google skills are failing me.

Posted by: Tank2 | January 7, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

At least Arenas has never been indicted for a double-murder, been convicted of obstruction of justice, been fined $250,000 by his league, and paid off the families of the 2 men whose deaths he was involved in....like the media's favorite guy Ray Lewis

Just curious, Does David Stern believe Ray Lewis is fit to take the field in an NFL game?

Oh, that's the NFL, out of his jurisdiction...not a good comparison you say? How about Cleveland Cavalier Delonte West? West was driving recklessly and cut off a police officer and was found with a loaded Beretta 9mm in his waistband, a Ruger .357 magnum strapped to his leg, and a shotgun in a guitar case slung over his back. David Stern did not suspend West, and has not as of yet declared West "not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game."

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"Gil is a funny-type dude," DeShawn Stevenson told Michael Lee. "Sometimes people don't take the things that you do funny."

Especially when those things involve guns.

Posted by: mkremnitzer0 | January 7, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Barno, he hasn't been banned from the game. When theres a criminal investigation going on its pretty typical for the player to be suspended pending the results. Thats not a violation of due process. And while I'm a big proponent of gun rights, there are a lot of responsibilities with gun ownership that Gil just didn't live up to.

Arenas is not a bad person, I'd agree with that, but what he did is serious and as such is being handled seriously.

Posted by: JDP_ | January 7, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"When theres a criminal investigation going on its pretty typical for the player to be suspended pending the results."

JDP, if only your above statement were true...

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"When theres a criminal investigation going on its pretty typical for the player to be suspended pending the results."

JDP, if only your above statement were true...

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse


the guy broke a league rule. he admitted to bringing a gun into the locker room. that is the basis for his suspension. (along with joking about it). had he brought the gun to a club on a non team related event and got pinched, perhaps he doesnt get suspended until the legal process is complete because he didnt break a league rule. see west, delonte.

nba does not care about due process when handing out suspensions. its pretty clear when you sign a contract that you will abide by league rules or face the consequences. given that gil admitted to bringing guns into the locker room, i'm suprised he wasnt suspended sooner.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Of course the article doesn't "exonerate" Arenas. If anything, it makes it seem like putting the guns in the locker was a misguided (idiotic? moronic? unbelievably effing stupid) joke, and that Crittendon is somewhat of a hothead.

Posted by: grimesman | January 7, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, he broke a league rule and should have some punishment. But "indefinite suspension" followed by "significant suspension or worse" in addition to be publicly called "unfit to take the court in an NBA game" is absolutely, positively, the most insanely excessive punishment I have ever seen a pro athlete receive.

You are simply naive if you don't believe the politically correct goons in the NBA's commissioners office aren't putting their anti-gun agenda ahead of common sense in this instance. Arenas should AT MOST have been fined, perhaps been suspended for a game or two at most, and ordered to take a class on gun safety. And that should have been the end of it.

Instead they are destroying this man's career not to mention reputation to further their political agenda.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

hey Barno1 -

how about takin' your lips off the zero-pipe long enough to face reality?
your incredibly convoluted defense of this
sociopath is laughable at best, disgusting
at the least...

Posted by: tindal0s | January 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, Arenas' punishment is likely to be more for his flip behavior once this broke than the violation itself. Notwithstanding his lawyer prepared statements, the guy clearly thinks the whole thing is a big joke.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 7, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Gilbert was copying the Jim Webb defense. For a VA Senator its not a big deal to bring guns into the Senate Office building.

Posted by: calhokie | January 7, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse


your incredibly convoluted defense of this
sociopath is laughable at best, disgusting
at the least...

Posted by: tindal0s | January 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

No, what is disgusting is people who apparently see no double standard with the way other recent Wizards who have run afoul of the law have been treated and how Gilbert's is being treated.

Funny, 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.

Funny, 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.

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

Funny, 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.

Funny, 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.

These double standards by the NBA and the Wizards may be perfectly okay to you, but to me it's quite troubling.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Barno1,

Your defense of Gil seems to be: Well, other guys got away with more heinous crimes, why shouldn't Gil, too? The issue is simply whether Gil broke the law, the terms of his contract and the conduct codes of the team. It seems pretty obvious the answer is yes, yes and yes. The crimes of other players won't change that. Your defense is akin to being busted by the IRS for tax fraud and arguing that it is OK because other people do it too, sometimes for far larger sums of money. It is exactly that sort of flippant disregard for laws - in this case, serious ones involving guns - that has gotten Gil into so much trouble. If he focused on accepting responsibility for the laws/rules he broke, and immediately worked to resolve his mistakes - rather than developing a Me-vs-the-world martyr complex that has alienated everyone save a few misguided apologists such as yourself - then he wouldn't be in this mess today.

Posted by: SammyT1 | January 8, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

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