Ryan O’Keefe gives us another look at the Gilbert Arenas issue.
It is difficult to deem anything involving Gilbert Arenas as a surprise anymore. However, storing guns in his locker and then being accused of drawing a weapon on teammate Javaris Crittenton during an alleged altercation over a gambling debt certainly is not only surprising, but alarming. With David Stern electing to suspend Arenas’ indefinitely without pay and criminal investigations still pending, the assumption, unfortunately, is that the worst is yet to come for Gilbert.
Suspensions regarding off the court infractions have typically been levied upon completion of criminal investigations, however this situation is extremely unique. With Arenas’ public comments, lack of any form of contrition and utter mockery of the situation with his “finger pistols” (pictured right) during introductions prior to Tuesday’s game, it is apparent that David Stern had seen enough. Wednesday Stern opted to suspend Arenas’ indefinitely pending completion of those investigations with additional sanctions likely. Stern’s statement even ominously included that the situation “will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse”.
Off the court, Arenas now needs to turn his attention to the legal issues he faces. The strict gun laws of Washington DC, coupled with the fact that Arenas’ guns are not registered in DC but in Virginia where he resides, make severe fines and even jail time a legitimate possibility. While the situation is very unique, some elements are similar and will surely draw comparisons to the Plaxico Burress case, which unfortunately did end with jail time for Burress.
Gilbert Arenas does not retain the services of any agent or agency. In fact, Gilbert negotiated his own 6-year $111 million deal personally with the Wizards late owner, Abe Pollin. Surely, professional guidance in handling the situation from the start would have helped Arenas’ immensely. His initial denial, lack of any remorse, and attempt at chalking it up to a locker room prank, certainly exacerbated the situation and could have all been avoided.
Ultimately the remaining approximately $80 million of that contract may very well be in jeopardy. Depending on the duration of his suspension and potential charges he may face, the Washington Wizards would have the right to seek termination of his contract. As a dismantling of the Wizards roster, which has been underachieving this season has already been discussed, this unfortunately would be an avenue for the Wizards to eliminate their long term and immense monetary obligations to Arenas.
Arenas has long had the reputation of being a quirky, goofy guy. He said and did what he pleased seemingly not concerned with what other people thought. Sadly, those very qualities that made him an appealing athlete seem to have had a negative impact on the course of this unfortunate situation, and may have even been the cause.