Once All-Star Gilbert Arenas was suspended from the league Wednesday following an armed altercation with teammate Javaris Crittenton inside the Wizard’s locker room. The league commissioner, David Stern, said that Arenas’ continuing behavior made him “not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.”
The whole story began back on December 19 during a card game where Arenas and Crittenton were present. According to Arenas’ story (spoken under oath) the two began arguing during the game and the dispute followed them to the Wizard’s locker room two days later. That morning Arenas brought in four unloaded handguns as a “playful gesture” toward Crittenton. This escalated into Crittenton getting out his own firearm, loading it, and cocking it in a threatening manner. Crittenton denies this version of the story.
The altercation between Arenas and Crittenton happened over a month ago, but it was Gilbert’s recent actions that caused Mr. Stern to put him on an indefinite suspension (even after stating that he would wait until after the police investigation deal out punishment). The action that pushed Stern over the edge so to speak was Arenas being seen holding his hands in the shape of guns and pretending to shoot at his teammates while they were outside of the arena on Tuesday night.
While it’s tough to say who is right and who is wrong at this point, I do agree with the commissioner’s position that Arenas should not be taking the situation so lightly.
Stern’s indefinite suspension of Arenas is no light punishment. Arenas will miss out on $147,200 for every game that he is out for. And this is only the beginning of the castigation. Some say that this punishment will beat Ron Artests’ suspension of 68 games as the longest non-drug related suspension in NBA history.
Adding additional mystery to the situation is the fact that no one has found the gun that (affirmed by multiple witnesses) Crittenton was wielding at the scene. I can’t help but think that it’s not so relevant who instigated the situation, and that (if the facts are true) it was an inanely stupid decision on both these guys’ parts to bring any sort of weapon into an NBA facility and jeopardize their careers. Bet you can’t guess how this one ends!