Athletes and guns, no joking matter

drew.kochanny

What did three-time NBA all-star guard Gilbert Arenas receive on his 28th birthday from NBA commissioner David Stern? How about a $147,200 pay cut with many more to come. Arenas, the self proclaimed “new John Wayne,” was suspended indefinitely without pay from the Washington Wizards on Jan. 6, also his 28th birthday, following a dispute between teammate Javaris Crittenton on Dec. 21 in which Arenas brought guns into the Wizards locker room at the Verizon Center. Yet another instance of an athlete in a gun-related incident in a long list over the last decade, an inexcusable matter for anyone in the spotlight as much as athletes are.

The case with Gilbert Arenas lies in the wake of perhaps the biggest athlete and gun-related episode of New York Giants star receiver Plaxico Burress, who is serving a two-year jail sentence after shooting himself in the leg with an un-registered weapon just last year.

What happened between Arenas and Crittenton remains unclear. You could write a book of short stories with all of the different allegations and accusations Arenas is facing, but one fact of the story that never changes, however, is that Arenas was in the wrong.

A source close to the situation claims that the two were in a dispute over a gambling debt in which Crittenton owed Arenas money. Arenas then brought unloaded guns into the locker room, possibly to intimidate Crittenton. Arenas claims it was all just a joke.

In fact, the whole matter has been a joke to Arenas, who laughed about it when asked by reporters and on his Twitter page: “I woke up this morning and seen I was the new JOHN WAYNE. Lmao. Media is too funny.” The following night in a pregame warm up, Arenas made shooting gestures towards teammates as they huddled around him in a game against Philadelphia.

Arenas needs to get through his head that it’s not at all a joke, and that anything that has to do with guns is actually far from a joke.

Federal investigation and local D.C. authorities are investigating the incident as well; apparently they aren’t ‘lmao’ over the matter, and neither should Arenas be now.

With each game “Agent Zero” misses, he is set to lose nearly $150,000. Arenas is currently serving his second year of a six-year $111 million contract. How high could that debt from Crittenton really have been? Maybe Crittenton should pay up now; Arenas may need the money soon, as the NBA is talking about terminating Arenas’s remaining contract.

The Wizards, already a dismal team, have gone 1-4 since losing Arenas, including a loss to the Detroit Pistons, which broke a 13-game losing streak in the Motor City. Gilberts replacement, Randy Foye, has been playing like an all-star since gaining the starting position, averaging 21 points along with eight assists, but most importantly no gun charges.

I support whatever outcome of the Gilbert Arenas case in that an example needs to be made. Far too often athletes see themselves above the law. You would think Arenas would have learned his lesson from a previous gun conviction from 2003 while with Golden State, but a one-game suspension wasn’t much of a discipline.

Athletes need to learn that playing sports is a job and a privileged one at that, and in any job, repercussions and consequences need to be made if the rules of that profession are being broken.