With each day passing, this story gets crazier and more absurd. There is, of course, absolutely no doubt that Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton deserve to be punished by the League for their actions. Firearms have no place in NBA locker rooms. And if found guilty of having committed any crimes, they should face the appropriate legal consequences.
But what about the NBA itself? Has David Stern already gone too far?
Stern and the folks at NBA HQ in New York were under enormous pressure to do something about Arenas and his apparent lack of remorse. The usual suspects in the media were going crazy, predictably calling the NBA a league of thugs, and some even going as far as to suggest that Gilbert be banned for life.
As Arenas continued with his clownish acts, Stern’s hammer came down hard on him, and even though it’s not yet totally clear just how severe the punishment will be, it’s almost guaranteed that Arenas will not set foot on an NBA floor this season, and perhaps longer.
For Crittenton, especially given the latest revelations, things may even turn out significantly worse for him.
There’s a long list of NBA players, coaches, and executives who have done things which can be seen as decidely worse than both Gilbert and Javaris’ bone-headed actions: Stephen Jackson fired his gun outside a strip joint; Sebastian Telfair brought a loaded weapon onto a team airplane; Donald Sterling’s long and shameful record speaks for itself; people have driven while intoxicated; players have spit on fans and thrown them through plate-glass windows; and would someone be kind enough to clarify exactly how Delonte West is “fit to take the court in an NBA game” again?
The list goes on and on. And here’s the thing: None of the people mentioned above faced the kind of swift and painful justice that Arenas (and inevitably, Crittenton) are about to endure.
So, once again, is the NBA doing the right thing here, particularly with Arenas?
They have every right to punish him — and this gives his employer a particularly tidy and mess free excuse to walk away from Gilbert’s massive contract — but they may have taken things to an unnecessary extreme.
In Crittenton’s case, there’s no telling just how far Stern and company will go.