Arenas under fire for gun incident

January 5, 2010

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas is introduced before the team's NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Washington, March 28, 2009. It was Arenas's first game back after a lengthy knee injury rehab. REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstAlthough it is not exactly clear what transpired between Washington Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton last month at the Verizon Center, we do know Arenas brought four unloaded handguns from his home to his locker and in a “misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate,” Arenas took the weapons out of his locker.

According to a statement released by his lawyers, Arenas voluntarily met with federal prosecutors and detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department on Monday to explain why he had firearms inside the team’s locker room.

However, just by admitting to having firearms at the Verizon Center, Arenas, one of the league’s more popular players, faces tough consequences from law enforcement, the Wizards and the league.

The headlines surrounding the incident were also an unwelcome development for a team that changed its name to the Wizards from the Bullets due largely to the violent connotation of the word, especially in a city once associated with crime.

From a basketball standpoint the harshest sentence would be a lengthy suspension from the league and the termination of the remaining five years of his contract, which would cost Arenas $96 million.

It was just over a year ago that Plaxico Burress, then a wide receiver with the NFL’s New York Giants, shot himself in the leg at a nightclub and earned himself a two-year prison sentence. But it looks like the lesson learned from the Burress incident may have already been forgotten by at least one athlete.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has previously taken a strong stance on guns. In 2006 he said, we think this is an alarming subject, that although you’ll read players saying how they feel safer with guns, in fact those guns actually make them less safe. And it’s a real issue.”

However, many NBA players feel that if done within the confines of the law, they have every right carry firearms.

But Arenas didn’t do it legally. He is sure to face some ramification for his transgression, the only question is, how harsh will his punishment will be?

  • He should be suspended for a year and have his contract voided by the Wizards
  • He should receive a short suspension
  • Nothing, he has the right to bear arms

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/