Arenas, Crittenton Done For The Season

By Carla Peay, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 27, 2010

WASHINGTON (BASN) — In a move that surprised no one, NBA Commissioner David Stern has suspended Washington Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton without pay for the remainder of the 2009-10 NBA season.

Stern met with both players on Wednesday, Jan. 27 before handing down the suspension. “Guns in the workplace will not be tolerated,” read the statement issued by Stern. Arenas was already serving an indefinite suspension Stern had handed down back on January 6.

The decision is the latest blow to Arenas, Crittenton, the Wizards franchise and the NBA ever since the two players got into a dispute on a team flight back on December 19 over a card game and a gambling debt.

The dispute then escalated on Dec. 21 in the Wizards locker room when Arenas placed four guns on a chair in front of Crittenton’s locker with a note that said “pick one” , to which Crittenton responded by pulling out his own gun.

Both players have had their day in court. Arenas pleaded guilty to one felony count of carrying a pistol without a license on January 15 and is awaiting sentence from Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin on March 26.

Crittenton pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun possession charge on Monday, Jan. 25, and was immediately sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, a fine of $1,250, and community service, which will include mentoring young people, and helping with relief efforts for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

In a conference call, Stern further explained his decision.

“We have preached to [players] in writing and actually in person on this very subject and nevertheless, they brandished firearms and that just can’t be tolerated. And if there’s any doubt to any of our players about it in the future, we will be dealing with this in an even more severe way.”

Maybe Arenas was right when he said “Stern was mean.”

But in a move that was a bit of a surprise, Arenas not only suggested that his suspension be for the rest of the season, but has told Billy Hunter, the head of the NBA players union, not to fight it.

Perhaps Arenas was making sure Stern didn’t pop him for more than just the rest of the season, or is hoping that Judge Morin will notice that the three-time all-star is willing to take his punishment, and will look more favorably on him when he hands down Arenas’ sentence.

Speaking of punishment, Arenas is losing approximately $147,200 per game for a suspension that will run a total of 50 games. Talk about a bad career move, and a so-called practical joke gone wrong.

Arenas is finally starting to say the right things, listening to his lawyers, and letting them to the talking.

“Mr. Arenas recognizes that his actions were a serious violation of the law and league rules and were detrimental to the NBA and its reputation. He accepts full responsibility for what he did, and takes no issue with the length of the suspension or the process that led to the Commissioner’s decision,” said Ken Wainstein, Arenas’ attorney.

But that’s just lawyer-speak.

Word from the Arenas camp is that he feels the organization has let him down, and did not support him through this ordeal. Wizards’ general manager Ernie Grunfeld did confirm that the team has not looked into to voiding the remainder of Arenas’ contract. But that could change depending upon Arenas’ sentence.

The team also issued the following statement.

“Arenas’ and Crittenton’s poor judgment has violated the trust of our fans and stands in contrast to everything that [owner] Abe Pollin stood for throughout his life.”

“It is widely known that Mr. Pollin took the extraordinary step of changing the team name from “Bullets” to “Wizards” in 1997 precisely to express his abhorrence of gun violence in our community. We hope that this negative situation can produce something positive by serving as a reminder that gun violence is a serious issue.

But while Arenas’ fate remains in question, a few things seem certain here in the Nation’s Capital. He will never play in a Wizards uniform again. The organization shows every sign of wanting him gone, and Arenas seems to echo that sentiment.

Grunfeld is on the hot seat after signing Arenas to a $111 million, six-year deal after three knee surgeries and making him the face of the franchise. Not to mention putting together this mess of a team, currently 14-30, the fourth-worst in the NBA.

Forwards Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, two class acts in the NBA, will be in high demand by several other teams as the trade deadline approaches in February.

Both have earned a chance to play for contenders with their talent, work ethic and professionalism. We will miss them here in D.C. if they move on, but they deserve better.

The new owner, likely to be Ted Leonsis after all the price haggling is done, will face no opposition if he decides to do what he did so effectively with the Capitals – blow this thing up and start over.

And while he’s at it, he might want to get rid of those boring uniforms and that dumb logo. It’s the Nation’s Capital — how about Red, White and Blue and a cool new logo?

And the Washington Wizards are, sadly, back to where they were a decade ago, hapless and floundering, and searching for an identity. In a season that started with hope and promise, the end has come crashing down in disappointment, and we’re only halfway through.