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January 7, 2010

Arenas, Vick and The Law

Tags: basketball, gilbert arenas, guns, law, michael vick, nba, Sports, washington wizards

(Note: As promised on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, I am blogging following a very successful blackjack session in Las Vegas!  What?  A little table time after my CES work is complete is allowed!)

It is not unprecedented in any way for a star athlete to face off-the-court troubles.  And it’s not so shocking if those troubles involve the legal system.

As I’m sure you are aware of, Washington Wizards superstar Gilbert Arenas has been suspended indefinitely by NBA Commissioner David Stern following a horrible choice and even worse follow-up decisions.

The story linked above has a good run-down of the timeline, so I won’t go into details on everything, but here’s the


main points:

Arenas lives in Virginia.  Following the recent birth of a child, he brought his guns to the Verizon Center.  The Verizon Center is in Washington, DC.  That makes the guns unregistered.  Bad decision.

Teammate Jarvaris Crittendon asked Gilbert to pay him money won in a gambling circumstance.  Gilbert left four guns in his teammate’s locker – as a joke.  Even worse decision.

Before Tuesday night’s game in Philadelphia, Gilbert pretended to shoot his teammates in a pregame huddle.

Wednesday morning, he is suspended without pay – with no end date.  That’s a cool $140,000+ per each game missed.

Gilbert has said that he didn’t think he did anything wrong.

I am NOT about to debate the 2nd Amendment.  Not happening in this forum.  However, Gilbert’s response was eerily similar to the chorus of defenders who said they didn’t find dogkilling all that offensive.

To me, it boils down to a very simple fact: in our democratic government, elected officials pass laws for their jurisdiction that all citizens must abide by, or face penalties.  If you don’t like said laws, you can petition to have them repealed, or just simply work to replace the official at the next election.

Not agreeing with the law is no defense when you break it.

So what happens next?  With the possibility of jail looming, his career on hold and his image in tatters, what’s going to happen with Gilbert Arenas?  If you were giving him advice, what would you say?

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  • nicoleprexec
    Great post, Mike. It's time for him to come forward with an honest understanding of why this is not acceptable (whether he was playing or not) and to encourage kids/adults against this behavior. Then following his court hearing, he needs to take part in speaking out again using guns in a joking matter and simply apologize for his actions. Teaming up with an organization to help educate his fan base on the proper use of guns wouldn't hurt either (as long as it's done properly, with the right message.)
  • Sheema Siddiqi
    I hadn't been aware of the situation until I read your post, but it seems like Arenas made some stupid decisions based on poor judgments. The society we live in today takes any type of threats, or perceived threats, are taken seriously and Arenas should be aware of that. I don't think what he did was as bad as what Michael Vick did- but what if someone had gained access to the guns and put everyone's safety at risk? He should be punished accordingly.
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