On Wednesday, NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Washington Wizards star point guard Gilbert Arenas for bringing guns into an NBA locker room. Though Arenas admitted as much, he denies reports that he and another teammate pointed guns at each other during a scrap about gambling debts. Arenas has an $111 million, six-year contract but will not receive pay during his suspension. In a statement Wednesday, Stern said:
The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us. I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation [however]... his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.Here's what sports buffs and media observers are saying:
- Only Suspended? asks Ty Duffy at The Big Lead: "In what other profession could you whip out firearms in the workplace and not be fired immediately?" Shay Riley agrees. "The NBA should have immediately suspended both players involved -- first for fighting, 2nd for the gunplay and 3rd for gambling. What type of message was the NBA sending out to the kids by continuing to allow these two clowns to play?"
- Maybe Too Harsh, writes the staff at Bossip: "Damn, it's one thing to be suspended...but it's another thing to be suspended without pay!
- May Just Be the Beginning, writes Frank James at NPR: "All this matters because Arenas reportedly doesn't have a license for the firearms. Also, Washington, DC's gun laws are among the strictest in the nation. Thus the investigation by law-enforcement authorities and what's beginning to look like some very significant legal problems for Arenas."
- Only Sarah Palin Can Save Him Now, laughs Roger Abrams at The Huffington Post: "Arenas needs someone who will stand up for him. The erstwhile Governor of Alaska and Republican Vice Presidential candidate is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment. Ms. Palin used to go moose hunting, you know. Gun possession is one of those inalienable rights we Americans cherish even if, on occasion, those guns kill people. Sarah should come to the Nation's Capital and speak out in support of Arenas' right to tote."