Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, under investigation for having unloaded guns in his arena locker room, turned 28 years old today. His birthday present wasn’t one of the better ones, however.
National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern issued the following statement today:
“The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us. I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation involving the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department, and the consideration of this matter by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia. For the same reason, I directed the Wizards to refrain from taking any action. Wizards personnel continue to be interviewed by law enforcement authorities, some are scheduled for appearance before the grand jury and the investigation is proceeding with the intensity that one would expect for such a serious incident.
“Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game. Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”
Shortly after the above statement was issued, the Wizards had this to say:
“We fully endorse the decision of the NBA to indefinitely suspend Gilbert Arenas. Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbert’s recent behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable. Some of our other players appeared to find Gilbert’s behavior in Philadelphia amusing. This is also unacceptable. Under Abe Pollin’s leadership, our organization never tolerated such behavior, and we have no intention of ever doing so.”
More on NBA suspending Gilbert Arenas
According to CBS Sports, “the swift and potentially severe punishment came less than 24 hours after Arenas mocked the criminal and NBA investigation of his possession of firearms in the Wizards’ locker room on Dec. 21 by spraying his teammates with fake gunfire in the pre-game huddle in Philadelphia Tuesday night. That brazen act, and Arenas’ latest comments after the game that he didn’t do anything wrong by bringing guns to work, prompted Stern to act.”
Mike Jones (formerly of the Washington Times) said this on his blog: “Stern showed how mean by pulling the plug on Arenas’ comedy act, although the legal process has yet to fully play out. Each game Arenas misses will cost the guard $147,208.”
According to the New York Times, “In the days since the incident became public, Arenas frequently used his Twitter account to mock journalists who reported the story, to address unrelated topics and to relate obscene jokes. Arenas defended his posts by claiming that he used humor as a way to deflect personal pain. Then, during warmups before a Tuesday evening game against the Philadelphia 76ers, he used his thumb and index fingers to pretend to shoot his teammates, who laughed at the display. “They said: ‘Do it. Do it. Do it,’ ” Arenas told reporters afterward. “You wonder why I can’t be serious.”
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