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Thursday, January 7th, 2010 at 12:53 pm  |  86 responses

Links: Stop Being Gilbert Arenas

Shhh!

by Lang Whitaker

When I first started working at SLAM, I used to wear a t-shirt to work pretty much every day. Shorts, sneakers, hats, jerseys — I dressed for each day in the office like it was a Saturday and I was heading to a sports bar. Because I could. Nobody told me not to. Ninety-five percent of the time I spent my day sitting at my desk and seeing the same dozen people over and over.

The problem was that other five percent of the time. Occasionally people would show up out of the blue. Agents, players, PR people, company owners. In some respect, they didn’t really care how I was dressed, but it did make some immeasurable difference.

One day I remember coming in wearing a hat and a t-shirt and, totally randomly, the BBC called and asked me to appear live on their nightly news to talk about the Kobe Bryant court case, and I had to spend about ten minutes sorting through the drawers in my desk looking for a sweater or something more presentable to wear on international television.

Since then, I’ve learned to make an effort. Now I wear a shirt with a collar every day, even in the summer. I still wear my Braves hat, but I can remove it with minimal collateral damage. Basically, I want to present the best version of myself every day, because you just never know who you’re going to meet or what opportunity you’re going to come across on any given day.

I don’t like doing this. If it was up to me, I’d wear t-shirts and sweatpants to work every day of the week. I want to be true to myself, dress the way I want to dress, but I recognize that there are societal lines I am not immune to. Perhaps one day my ability to arrange words in a certain order will improbably translate into a billion-dollar industry for me, at which point I will be able to be above initial perceptions. But for now, I’m a part of it, whether I like it or not.

The lesson here is that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do for the benefit of other people. Which, generally, sucks for me. But it’s absolute truth in every facet of life. I don’t want to clean up the bathroom at home, but if Wifey asks me to do it and I don’t do it, it makes our relationship more difficult than it otherwise needs to be. Does it really make a difference to the world around me if my sink hasn’t been scrubbed in two weeks? None whatsoever. But it does make a difference to my wife, and her level of happiness makes a direct difference in my life. So I scrub the sink.

This seems to be a life lesson that Gilbert Arenas hasn’t completely grasped. Everything we do, every decision we make, has an effect, long-term or short-term or both. Maybe he’s never had to grasp it. Maybe it’s why he wasn’t picked in the first round of the NBA Draft. Maybe it’s why he’s not playing basketball right now.

I’ve generally found an unwillingness to conform an endearing trait in many people, specifically athletes. It’s what makes the rebels fun to follow. And it’s what made Gilbert Arenas so much fun. We could expect the unexpected from Gilbert. He said things other players wouldn’t say, did things other players wouldn’t do. And that’s all great, great stuff. That’s entertainment. But there’s a difference in being a non-conformist and in being obstinate, and over the last week, Gilbert crossed that line.

Regardless of what did or did not happen, there was one correct way for Gilbert to handle the situation he found himself in which would have resulted in him keeping most of his money and maximize his time on the basketball court: Shut up other than to apologize and then play basketball. Let the system run its course. Basically, stop being Gilbert Arenas, at least for a while. Maybe you are completely innocent, maybe you are as guilty as can be, but let those things play out in front of you without commentary. Because in a worst-case-scenario, you could actually make public perception worse. Which is exactly what happened.

I understand humor as a coping mechanism. I do. Anytime things get too serious for me, I crack a joke. Or, when I really want to make everyone laugh, I rip a huge fart. (I was kidding, but see, that was funny.)

Employed correctly, humor is a great equalizer. It deflates tension, smooths things out. But a bad joke is about the worst thing someone can drop into a tense situation. Think about how in nearly every action movie there’s a scene where something’s about to pop off, and then someone cracks a joke nobody laughs at. Gilbert was that unfunny joker, over and over and over again over the last week. He seemed to be trying to swing for the fences time and again, but swinging and missing every time. It was as if he felt that eventually, one of these jokes would connect and everyone would remember, “Oh, this is GILBERT ARENAS we’re talking about!” But the situation was too far gone for Gilbert to do anything about it.

I’ve seen a lot of people upset about Gilbert’s indefinite suspension, saying that David Stern is being too harsh in light of the penalties that other guys who’ve had gun incidents — like Delonte West or Stephen Jackson or Sebastian Telfair — received. But there’s one huge, immediate difference that should be obvious to everyone: Every one of those other guys immediately issued copious apologies and then went silent. They didn’t tweet incessantly, they didn’t attempt to engage every rumor, they didn’t say that David Stern was a mean person, but most importantly, none of them pretended to shoot their teammates during the pregame introductions!

By far, the most important word in David Stern’s statement was “ongoing,” as in it was Gilbert’s “ongoing conduct [that] has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.” Basically, Gilbert didn’t know when to say when, and he didn’t seem to have anyone around him able to convince him that it was time to say when. So David Stern said it for him.

Gilbert told the Washington Post that he’d like the chance to talk to Stern. “I just want to remind him of who I am,” Gilbert said. “I’m the kid who jumped off the trampoline at the all-star game, the kid who throws his jersey to people in the stands. I’m not the hoodlum that’s being written and talked about right now.”

Look, Gilbert Arenas made some terrible, no-good, very bad choices. That doesn’t mean he’s not the guy who called himself “Hibachi” and got a tiger tattoo on his chest.

Most of us remember the other Gil, the one we all loved and had fun cheering for. Maybe the best way to make sure everyone focuses on that guy, and the best way for Gil to keep his job going forward, would be if he stopped trying so desperately to remind us.

A lot of people made their initial perceptions of Gilbert Arenas, and most of those perceptions were positive. As Gilbert’s finding out now, pleasing everyone is really hard, maybe the hardest thing for a person to do.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Or at least, you can’t try really hard to do it.

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    *looks in mirror* I’m headed home to change clothes. Be back in 40. Oh, and agree with just about everything.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Ha, I wasn’t calling you out! (Or was I?)

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    I like your sweatsuits, Tzvi. And I like wearing t-shirts. And I like this piece.

  • http://housethatglanvillebuilt.blogspot.com Reverend Paul Revere

    I think you may have inadvertently convinced me to start shaving every day.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Also, I’m not wearing a shirt with a collar today. So I’m a hypocrite.

  • riggs

    grab some scissors andddd youre set.

  • riggs

    i know people exactly like gil, they figured they didnt do anything wrong so whats the big deal? and since that is their mindset theyre going to try and make a joke out of it to convince other people that it wasnt that serious.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Bravo. My only problem with the situation at this point is that this seems to be a move by Stern that can either be categorized as a sensible decision or an emotional reaction. A few sources have claimed that Stern felt he was being mocked by the finger guns and if that is the case then hes equally at fault for letting his ego overshadow good judgment.

  • Escott Ingles

    Attempt to please everyone? I agree that there is truth in what you are saying, but damn. I first fell in love with Slam for its unapologetic, hip hop bravado. I don’t wish to speak on whether Gil is right, wrong, stupid, etc., but can certainly empathize with taking a hard stance against his actions… It just hurts to see who I consider to be the figurehead of Slam espousing the virtues of changing oneself for perception’s sake… I’ve nothing but love for you Lang, but damn.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    Good piece. Gilbert just doesn’t get it. I mean, it’s common sense to NOT joke around with guns.

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    I love that Gil doesn’t change for anyone and always does him. But sometimes you gotta work within the system for your own good. I don’t think it would be sacrificing anything or conforming if he had been a little less out there since this all came out.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • JB

    I think the best word Stern used in his release was “unfit”.

    Not quite Artie Lange unfit, but unfit to be Gilbert Arenas currently and represent the NBA.

    The other thing that’s vastly overlooked by the many who are attempting to paint Stern as a narcissist is that…Delonte West didn’t have his gun(s) in a NBA Arena, or on any NBA related business…same with Stephen Jackson…etc.

    This was a whole new level of stupidity, coupled with DC’s gun laws. Crit is next, but the reason it’s taken longer for Stern to get to him (other than STern asking, “Who??”) is that Crit hasn’t been talking/tweeting/texting about the situation.

  • riggs

    the mans last name is STERN, i mean how much of a giveaway is that?

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Silk32

    Gil, Hibachi, Agent Zero, etc. is known more for his off the court activities (blogging, tweeting, $1 million birthday parties, etc.) than anything else. Actually, he isn’t known for what he is actually paid to do – win games. He is one of the biggest stars in the league, particularly amongst media personnel and bloggers. That type of notoriety while you are sitting home during the playoffs can only breed arrogance and a sense of entitlement … in other words he’s a “mullet” http://clicky.me/Shockims

  • MikeC.

    @Lang
    I read this piece, looked at my outfit (sweat pants and t-shirt with dried ketchup on it), realized I haven’t shaved in 4 days or showered since yesterday, and now just feel gross. Thanks a lot Lang. Now I gotta go get a shirt with a collar on it just to boost my flagging self-esteem. And I need to scrub my sink too. I used to come to Slamonline to read about bball news and to zone out of the real world for a bit. Now I have to dress nicer and clean my house. Has my fiance been talking to you?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Co-sign Lang all day long.

  • MikeC.

    Stern must be extra super duper pissed about this whole ridiculous series of events. Stern is a lawyer and has always let things play out in the courts before handing down any NBA-related punishment. For him to jump on this before anyone is even charged with a crime shows how crazy steamed he is over this. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during the arbitration over voiding Gil’s contract. Hopefully Stern walks into the conference room and points the gun fingers at Gil and his lawyers.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Good piece.
    I wish Stern had just suspended Arenas because he admitted to violating league rules. Then there would be no need for this discussion. Arenas knew the rules, he broke the rules, so he got punished. The decision to tie it Arenas “ongoing actions” or his attitude, irks me to know in because this sets a dangerous precendent.
    It’s like Roger Goodell suspending multiple players four games for driving under the influence but then suspending Jared Allen only two games because he looked into Allen’s eyes and saw “remorse.”
    It’s normal to use your emotions to make decisions, and none of us think black and white rules are always adequate. But, when you make decision based on gut reactions there is a much bigger chance for mistakes, bias and unfair treatment. Concrete guidelines establish a measure of justice in situations.

  • LeoneL

    Thanks Lang.

  • k.o.

    an angle i didn’t consider. nice piece, Lang.

  • EJ

    I am glad people are taking this seriously. If I took a gun to work and pointed it at someone, whether it was a joke or not I’m pretty sure I’d be escorted out by security with my employment terminated. I am fairly certain that the players union will eventually intervene and get Gil back on the court this season, but for now it is a breath of fresh air to see him out for the year. I’d like to see the Wiz be able to terminate his contract as well, but if the Celts couldn’t terminate Vinny Baker I’m sure Washington won’t be able to get out of this one either. Good article Lang.

  • KHALID SALAAM

    The situation is not about arenas conforming though. It’s about what is legal and what isn’t.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    If he wants to have a job in a corporate profession (this includes the NBA), Gilbert will have to learn what it means to be a professional. That’s the whole basis of the joke “When keeping it real goes wrong”. There is a line, and you’re allowed to “do you” as long as you stay clear of that line.

  • http://www.twitter.com/stevengilley15 Gilley

    Great piece and analogy. Where was Gilbert’s PR people and lawyers while he was conducting his ‘ongoing activities?’ I think Gilbert is a nice guy but somewhat naive in the sense he didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. But he deserved to be punished but I just hope the public stop rushing to judgment. Especially since the ENTIRE STORY is not out yet. Reserve judgment folks and then after you get the entire story DON’T JUDGE. LOL

  • Bob D

    Gilbert has made some very bad choices, very much including not shutting up as you say. However, I have a big problem with an indefinite suspension. A player has a right to know what specifically what he is being suspended for and for how long. Stern is a great commissioner, but he is not a dictator. The NBA should have investigated first, and then issued an appropriate punishment. The NBA has dealt with gun issues before – Stephen Jackson, Dellonte West – and it’s not like Arenas is Plaxico Burress, discharging a loaded firearm in public. The lynch mob mentality found here is completely uncalled for.

  • http://www.slamonline.com barnabusb

    On point. Great write-up, Lang.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Okay, Lang wouldn’t let me stay away. Let me just say that even if Stern punished Gil based purely off the fact that he was pissed, so what.? The severity of punishments are based off emotions more often than not. There’s no one standard sentence for murder. Why? Because like it or not some lives are perceived to be more valuable than others. That’s why they wanna throw the book at people who kill children and etc. That’s based on emotion. How do we feel about this crime and this criminal? The judge can give him anywhere from x amount of years to life, based on how he feels. So, Gilbert being punished because Stern wanted to show him that his private parts are in fact way bigger than his is really not that big of deal. At the end of the day, Gil shouldn’t have put himself in the position to be made an example of.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Okay, Lang wouldn’t let me stay away. Let me just say that even if Stern punished Gil based purely off the fact that he was pissed, so what.? The severity of punishments are based off emotions more often than not. There’s no one standard sentence for murder or other acts of violence. Why? Because like it or not some lives are perceived to be more valuable than others. That’s why they wanna throw the book at people who kill children and etc. That’s based on emotion. How do we feel about this crime and this criminal? The judge can give someone anywhere from x amount of years to z amount of years, based on how he feels. So, Gilbert being punished because Stern wanted to show him that his private parts are in fact way bigger than his is really not that big of deal. At the end of the day, Gil shouldn’t have put himself in the position to be made an example of.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    lol its true though. Gil shouldn’t have fcuked around with firearms in the first place. And Javaris shouldn’t have tried to be all bada$s with his own guns.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Very well said, Co Co.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    CoCo
    I feel you.
    But the reasoning behind punishment is important. In order for to respect the process I have to believe decisions are based on logic and justice.
    As I’ve said multiple times, Arenas should be suspended. Why the need to talk about him as “unfit” and basically tie his reinstatement to his contrition?
    Arenas has apologized numerous times. He’s never tried to justify what he did, nor has he complained about the suspension. He’s only said that he doesn’t like the way the situation was portrayed in the media, and he would like to talk to Stern about his side of the incident.

  • andrew

    I think the best thing Gilbert can do going once hes dealt with whats coming is hire an agent! This guy needs someone in his life that is going to attempt to help him protect his image and show him where the line IS. My personal belief is that the Wiz want to blowe this thing up badly and know they cant trade Gils contract so when they got wind of this incident they ‘released’ false accounts ala the changing stories and got overly eager to assist the authorities in getting evidence to ensure there is a felony charge against arenas. The reason nothing has been said or done about Crittenton is the size of his contract. To me this is showing the Wiz to be a heartless organisation who will attempt to undo the mistake of overpaying arenas by any means necessary and if his contract is voided i hope Gil takes his punishment and comes back and torches the wizards hibachi style.

  • KHALID SALAAM

    Co-sign what Co-Co said.

    Its not the media or Stern that should be blamed here. Its Arenas and also Crittenton. They have the right to keep their money but playing in the L should be taken from them forever. You don’t get a second chance on this one, sorry. Apologizing isn’t good enough. Coming down hard on these guys is the only way to make people understand. Leave the guns in your car or keep a bodyguard around at all times. Do whatever you need to do. But bringing them into a building as crowded as an NBA arena is asking for tragedy. Make an example out of them, whatever it takes. But all this making excuses for them and saying it has a racial component is just nonsense. I’m really disappointed with most of the comments today. You guys are so conditioned to be pro player its ridiculous. And people wonder why i hardly comment on this site anymore..

  • Garett

    Lang’s a sellout. jk, I’m wearing a collar and dress everything right now. No noose though.

    Arenas is entertaining as hell, but damn he needs some guidance – where were his agent, teammates, coach etc. in all this? Get a PR person if needed, he’s got the cash. And now the guy is gone for likely this season, what a waste, Artestian feelings are coming back.

    And as well, Twitter once again reveals why a lot of athletes shouldn’t be on it, or at least the irresponsible ones. Was it really worth it Gil, typing comments look a HS kid about how everyone’s so stupid? And now he’s lost millions cause of that (and of course the other dumbass things he’s done the past few weeks).

    Hope he’s back, with a new team as well, but he’s got a long way to go.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    I really have no problem with Gil being suspended “indefinitely” without pay. I think the fact that Gil’s failed attempts at humor provoked Stern into swift action, and that’s understandable.
    At the same time, I don’t think this should be grounds for the Washington Wizards to get out of a contract they clearly wanted to get out of all along, especially if no criminal charges come of this. And I also think that Khalid’s view that Gil should get a LIFETIME BAN is, all due respect, wildly disproportianate.

  • andrew

    @Garett – Gilbert has NO agent he represents himself.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Tariq, if you had given a contract to someone who quite frankly wasn’t living up to it, you’d be looking for a way to get out of it too. There’s no harm in that. That’s why contracts are structured with all kinds of reasons to void them. He signed the contract and if he violated any of the terms of that contract then they have every right to void it. I’d think less of them if they didn’t try to void it, that would just be bad business. He basically gift wrapped an $80 million refund for the Wizards, they’d be downright stupid not to take it.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Co Co, but, as far as I know, there are no grounds to void the contract unless there are criminal charges.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    My point is if there’s any way they can get out of the contract, they aren’t wrong for doing so. Everyone agreed to the terms of that contract so it would be silly of us to think that they’re doing anything wrong if they exercise their right to get out of it. It doesn’t matter what their motive is, if he gave them a reason they should do it if they want to.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I have a problem with the leagues distinction between bringing a gun into the arena and bringing a gun anywhere else. Guns are guns no matter where you go and further more, even if the distinction is made between team facilities and everywhere else, shouldnt that include the charter flights? And shouldnt that have gotten Sebastian in more trouble than 3 games? That has nothing to do with pro player conditioning, it has to do with reasonable people looking for a measure of consistency. It seems that players invovled in incidents with guns are a black eye for the league no matter where they are, so these subtle distinctions that results in wildly disproportionate suspensions is confusing at the least.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    The league is essentially saying that if this happened at Gils house instead of the locker room, they wouldnt care. Thats effed the eff up.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    The league is essentially saying that if this wouldve happened at Gils house instead of in the locker room, they wouldnt care. Thats f*cked up.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Comparing punishments is pointless and the situations are extremely different. But like I told you yesterday, Stern probably realized he wasn’t harsh enough on Bassy so he decided to throw the book at Gil. He has the power to do this and the players and their union have agreed that Stern should have all this power. They need to address that the next time negotiations come up. Either way, expecting consistency in punishments is reasonable, but it never happens! This is not just exclusive to Gilbert Arenas. When someone is allowed to punish you at their discretion, many things come into play and how they handled a situation with one person has nothing to do with it sometimes. I have 3 siblings and I could have done the same thing wrong that my brother did and gotten punished differently. This goes on in every walk of life.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Co Co,
    Oh, I agree with you there. I’m not blaming the Wizards for wanting to get out of the contract. I’m saying that Stern shouldn’t allow them to get out of it unless they have proper grounds, namely a criminal conviction. Maintaining the image of your league is not grounds for voiding an $80 million contract. Stern has the power to suspend Arenas because he broke NBA rules concerning bringing guns onto NBA property, and I can’t blame him for his harshness in Arenas’s case because Arenas has been acting like a dumba$$. Fine.
    But to suggest that he should be relieved of $80 million dollars, and, even worse, denied the chance to earn a livelihood in the NBA, even if he hasn’t been convicted of anything? I think that’s a bit too much.
    P.S.
    Co-sign Myles @4.08

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tarig
    It doesn’t have to be a criminal conviction. The contract allows them to void it for “immoral” behavior, which is just vague enough to work with damn near anything.
    If you don’t like guns, fine. But, don’t pretend that guns are these evil instruments of doom that always result in bloodshed.
    Lots of people use guns responsibly and lots of people don’t.
    A lifetime ban for bringing an unloaded weapon into building is ridiculous. The only justification is what “might” happen. My opposition isn’t about being unreasonably pro-player it’s about being sensible.
    You can’t go around handing down draconian punishments for what might have happened. That really makes no sense. That’s at the heart of many of the problems this country has had since it’s inception. You cannot tell me that bringing a gun into a locker room is more dangerous than driving drunk. That doesn’t make sense.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Again, if he gave them any reason to void the contract he signed, they can do it and Stern can’t stop it because it’s in black and white. If “this” happens then we reserve the right to make “that” happen. There’s nothing wrong with that. And, he needs to take all responsibility for jeopardizing his opportunity to play in the league. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to cry for him or Vick or Plax because their actions led to them losing millions of dollars.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Also, regarding all of you sweatpants-to-work-wearing schlubs, I just want to say that, generally speaking, I am fly as hell. In fact, I’ve noticed that whenever I walk into a Safeway, the song “Sharp-Dressed Man” comes on, and I feel warm inside (in the produce aisle).

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    And, just because Gil can’t play in the NBA it doesn’t mean he can’t get another job. Hell, we’d all love to have our dream job, but it’s not our God given right. They can absolutely deny him the right to participate in their league. I doubt it will come to that, but the NBA can be just as particular about who they hire as Coca Cola or any other company. You set the standards for what type of person you want to employ.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    CoCo
    Can’t argue with you. The NBA has the “right” to deny Arenas the option of playing in their league and Washington has the “right” to void his contract.
    So, do you think that would the right thing for them to do? And if so, please explain why you think that would be the right and just thing for them to do.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Allenp,
    Oh. Well I still think that’s b*llshit. “Immorality”? In that case, any guy caught cheating on his wife should have his contract revoked.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    If Sprewell couldnt get voided, I wouldnt worry about Gil just yet.

  • http://www.realultimatepower.net doyouwantmore

    But a lifetime ban (I.E: Being Fired) is perfectly reasonable when an employee, particularly a cornerstone of a multi-million dollar franchise, has agreed to act and perform like a grown man with adult responsibilities, and then chooses not to. Arenas (and many other players) deserves whatever he gets, because he didn’t treat his guns and right to own them with respect and maturity. He chose to play with them like toys, and in doing so voided his grown man’s right to work where he does.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    If I’m Washington hell yeah I’m trying to get my $80 million back. You could think I’m the most evil person in the world, but whatever. Gilbert has done nothing of late to justify making that kind of money. I know it’s hard for regular folks to understand, but imagine if YOU had to pay this dude 80 million bucks and your team is still one of the worst in the league. Why wouldn’t you try to get out of it?? Most millionaires don’t become millionaires unless they’re smart business people. It would be a great business decision for them to get that money. As far as the NBA, is concerned I don’t think they should suspend him for life and I doubt they will.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    ha! Tariq brought it with the funny in an otherwise sad situation all around.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    CoCo
    I can see Washington voiding the contract and dumping him. Hell, I wouldn’t be super pissed at them, but it would seem more like a financial move than a move that stemmed from his actual actions.
    I would be highly pissed if he got a lifetime ban. Like, beyond pissed.
    A lifetime ban is not like being fired. A lifetime ban is much more severe and life-altering. Firing would be the equivalent Wizards voiding his contract and forcing him into free agency. A lifetime ban would deny him the chance to play in the NBA regardless of if any team had an interest in signing him. Yes, Arenas is a member of the NBA, but ultimately he is an employee of the Washington Wizards. For the NBA to restrict his ability to play for any other team for the rest of his life seems unjust.
    Although, I will admit that Doyouwantmore made a decent argument for the ban.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Co Co:
    I don’t think that the Wizards are evil for trying to get out of Gil’s contract. It’s a bad contract. A situation has presented itself which they may be able to take advantage of. The ruling is, according to Allenp, “immoral conduct” or whatever the hell it is. So, if I were the Wizards, I’d try to take full advantage of the situation. It would be foolish not to.
    HOWEVA, in my opinion, I think it’s poppycock if they manage to get this contract voided on “immoral” grounds. In my mind, a married man cheating on his wife is much more “immoral” than a guy goofing of with a bunch of unloaded guns in an empty locker room. Less dangerous, but more “immoral.”

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    im gonna go shower, shave, and dress nicely. i look like a bum right now. gil should have shut up after the fact, but thats not gil. i almost think the league should appoint bodyguards/security to the players, but that would open up a whole other can of worms

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    I really don’t think it’s going to come to a lifetime ban. As far as Washington though, they may make his services available to the other teams. And, it would be a smart financial move. They aren’t getting what they paid for and even Arenas’ biggest fans have to acknowledge that.

  • Tommy Patron

    Of course, Arenas is wrong, but this “unfit” thing is a joke. The only reason the punishment will come down is that Stern and the NBA finally have their chance to get at a player that committed this type of transgression while actually at work. I understand Stern feeling compelled to throw the book at Gil, but the “unfit” quote is bs. All the other players that have been caught out there as adulterers and committing domestic, drug and gun crimes are equally unfit. The league needs a regime change.

  • Jdubbs

    The first thing i thought when i saw the interviews, was “damn, anyone else would shut up about this, but Gil’s out there, being honest and open, what reporters always wanted in an athlete”

    And then of course he gets banned indefinitely. So now atchletes will go back to their cliches and the press will get their lame soundbites.

    Arenas was one of a kind, he was real, and I’ll miss him.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    meh. I’m tired of hearing this bullcrap now. I think we get it, David stern is not to be f’d with at anytime. Just be a quiet little prick and play ball, Gilbert. no one needs entertainment in this salty ass league anyway.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Well put, Lang.

  • http://www.nba.com/playerfile/sean_marks/index.html Michael NZ

    Yes, well said Lang.

  • デイビッド

    Well said Lang. There is a time and place for everything, and from what I understand Gil’s judgment was way off. Also, I never thought I’d say this but, I agree with Khalid too (Is that hell freezing over…?). Some of the comments are just plain stupid and narrow-minded.
    I think you all need to think of this in a more global sense too. Whether you like it or not the NBA is an international product. Whether you like it or not, not everyone who likes the NBA, or basketball for that matter, likes hip hop/rap. Whether you like it or not, there are stereotypes that get associated with players.
    When you have a player bring guns to an arena and then use those guns in an altercation is, however you look at it, unacceptable. Then to fool around and try to make light of an already sensitive subject is just plain stupid. While you in America may be used to everyday life with guns, many people in the rest of the world are not, and probably find this whole situation quite unbelievable.
    Yes, suspend him indefinitely. When all is said and done go to arbitration and try to get back what you think you deserve.

  • DMC14

    I quit my profession because i had to start wearing ties. not for me i moved from the office to the warehouse. fuck ties.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    *nods head approvingly*

  • buppie

    Great piece, Lang.

  • thafanatic

    I dont think gilbert arenas is fit to do anything but flip burgers at burger king. I cant believe that idiot ever got into college. I feel sorry for people who attended Arizona university because he is a horrible representation for you guys. I can understand why the head of a professional organization sees arenas “unfit” to be in the NBA, because there is nothin professional about him. He is so classless.

    Good piece though. I always enjoy your point of view and writing Lang.

  • Alphonso Ford

    Great piece Lang, thankyou. Actually made me look at what I’m wearing today.

  • Ray

    I agree that Arenas should of been suspended but this is not such an offense that his contract should be voided. If you ask me…… it looks like a setup to do exactly that, and I think it is wrong. If I’m the players union I put the brakes on this right away because it could open up a huge can of worms. Gilbert is an idiot but so is the management who signed the guy and they need to be held accountable as well.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Anybody else heard rumors that McGrady might be traded to Washington? My guess is Caron Butler. Washington wants Landry but NO WAY that’s going to happen. Good trade for Houston if it works out.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    Good stuff, Lang.

  • Peter

    “The league is essentially saying that if this wouldve happened at Gils house instead of in the locker room, they wouldnt care. Thats f*cked up.”

    Ummm…not really. My employer would care if I watched p*rn at work but not if i did it at home…

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  • RedRum

    Don’t care if it is Arenas, or anyone else. Players like him have lost grasp of reality. Think they are invincible. Is he kidding??? Because he jumped of a tramboline and because he throws jerseys to the crowd, he thinks he is entitled to bring firearms in the locker room??? Someone needs to slap him

  • http://slamonline tealish

    I find it amusing how some people don’t understand the significance of where the offense occurred.
    Yes, yes it does matter that he played with his guns at an NBA arena as opposed to at his own home.
    There IS a difference and it’s epically large…..

  • http://seriously.anything.works.here Dave

    You know, tealish, I didn’t think about it. But you’re really, really right.

  • http://seriously.anything.works.here Dave

    I’m gonna say this because nobody else will:
    Abe Pollin dies, then this happens a few months later and the Wiz get to undo his biggest mistake. Shadenfraude.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    I taught at a school with a dress code the other day. Probably the best behaved group of kids I’ve been around. I thought it was BS for the NBA at the time, but it actually might work.
    Gil needs to go on one of those celebrity poker shows for his next career

  • http://seriously.anything.works.here Dave

    I went to a school with a dress code. My first week there someone burned down the science block.

  • http://www.NoYork.com NoYork

    Lang do we need to send you a NoYork button up then?

  • http://www.everyjoe.com/nbaobsessed/ James

    Amazing the difference a collar makes and for those that have not tried it, a suit just makes you feel the job is more important. Such a weird world.

    Gilbert Arenas has also never had to conform and there were no consequences when he didn’t. Until now.

  • http://seriously.anything.works.here Dave

    James, you just contradicted yourself. He wears a suit by regulation all the time. And a uniform on court. Does he act like a serious, important ball player?

  • matt the jazz fan

    great piece lang, common sense without browbeating

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