Luke Scott's Gilbert Arenas moment
Gilbert Arenas didn't become a pariah solely for bringing handguns into an NBA locker room. I get that. He violated D.C. gun laws, leading to severe legal problems. And he violated the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, which expressly forbids players from bringing guns onto NBA property.
He was going to have to pay for these violations, regardless of whether he had read up on the D.C. code. Still and all, I'd argue that he didn't become a national punching bag for flaunting D.C. gun laws, nor for disobeying David Stern's rules. The basic issue became a lot simpler than that: "Athlete Brings Gun Into Locker Room!" to put it succinctly.
So then comes the news, via the Baltimore Sun, that Orioles DH Luke Scott has brought guns into MLB clubhouses. Crazy, right?
"I've carried a gun for 10 years. I've carried them in the locker room, and nobody really knows about it. I know how to handle myself, and I stow it away where nobody really knows about it."
Now, did Scott use the weapons as part of a practical joke during an argument with a teammate? Was he part of a story so messy and entangled that someone wound up chucking a weapon across the room? Does he have a history of inappropriate jokes, including sneaker defecation? No, no and no. But he brought a weapon into that sacred and secure athletic safe haven we heard so much about throughout Gil's Gunz coverage, and so these are some folks I'd be curious to hear from in the coming days.
Jay Mariotti: "Anyone who feels sorry for Arenas should consider the potential horror of toting guns in a locker-room area where several men dress every day inside a downtown arena where 20,000 people -- including families with kids -- might watch the Wizards....Anyone else who brings firearms to work -- you, me, your neighbor -- is fired and marred for life. Arenas and Crittenton deserve the same treatment, especially when bringing guns to an NBA arena violates a clause in the standard player's contract via the collective bargaining agreement."
Phil Taylor: "Whatever the truth, it's hard to shake the image of the Wizards' locker room as a setting in some violent video game--handguns within reach, ammo at the ready, no one knowing who's armed and dangerous. The public can only wonder, Who are these guys? Is that what their world is really like? And if so, why would anyone spend a dime to watch their games or buy their jerseys?"
Steve Kelley: "I believe incidents like this are major reasons Seattle no longer has an NBA team....If players feel so unsafe they believe they need to own guns, then the league should reassess its security policy. Every player, even those who don't own guns, should be made to enroll in a gun safety class. And players should be made to disclose to the league every registered gun they own."
Mitch Lawrence: "Arenas has given Stern the kind of opening he needs to trash his current gun policy and make it a fireable offense if any player is caught with a weapon. No exceptions. If Stern were to implement 'the Arenas Rule' players might think twice about owning a gun....Even if Arenas never pulled a trigger here, as Stephen Jackson once did with the Pacers, this incident is the worst, by far. Because it happened in an NBA arena."
Michael K. Ozanian: "Many NBA players carry guns and the league is full of thugs. But most fans and sponsors don't care, and for those that do care the NBA has done a wonderful job keeping its dirty laundry out of the press."
Terence Moore: "Here's a scary thought: Maybe Arenas really doesn't get it. Maybe he doesn't realize the brutal message he is sending to the youth that he claims he cherishes so much. More specifically, maybe he joins a slew of other modern NBA players who don't understand that their constitutional right to become knuckleheads not only affects themselves and their teams, but the overall state of the league."
Al Sharpton: "If it had been a white player pointing a gun at a black player, there would have been much more of an uproar. It's almost as if people are saying, 'Well, we don't expect anything better from our black athletes.' "
Peter Vecsey: "If for some indeterminate reason, Arenas doesn't wind up doing hard time for bringing three guns to the work place, thereby violating District of Columbia laws, the Collective Bargaining Agreement and common sense, this wangster still must be ejected from David Stern's game...permanently."
Wonder how long I'll have to wait. Probably should hear from them all pretty soon.
(MLB's weapons policy was developed in response to the Plaxico Burress case last summer, but only became a big topic when signs announcing the Weapon-Free Workplace Policy showed up this spring.)
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