NBA Suspends Gilbert Arenas
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
The NBA has suspended the Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas indefinitely. NBA Commissioner David Stern made that decision public today. Arenas was involved in a conflict with a teammate, and he brought guns into the team locker room.
NPR's Tom Goldman has the latest.
TOM GOLDMAN: The indefinite suspension without pay stems from an incident in late December. Gilbert Arenas, the Wizards' leading scorer of the season, displayed several unloaded guns in the team locker room at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Sources say he laid out the firearms for a teammate, Javaris Crittenton, to chose from in order to settle a dispute from a card game a few days earlier. In a statement this week, Arenas said he took out the unloaded guns, quote, "in a misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate," end quote. It's not a joke to the NBA, however.
In 2005, the league and its players union agreed to toughen up firearms rules, so players could be disciplined if they brought guns to an arena or practice facility. In a statement today suspending Arenas, NBA Commissioner David Stern seemed to send a message not only about guns, but Arenas' apparent cavalier attitude about the incident. Arenas publicly has joked about the matter. This week, a photo with teammates showed Arenas pointing his index fingers at them as if there were guns.
Said Stern, although it's clear the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately results in the substantial suspension and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.
The suspension is immediate. Still pending are a full NBA investigation and a criminal probe by law enforcement officials. In a statement, Arenas said he transported the handguns from his home in Virginia to the Verizon Center, mistakenly believing recent changes in D.C. gun laws allowed a person to store unloaded guns in the district. Arenas, indeed, was mistaken. The current law says no one is allowed to bring a hand gun into D.C. unless they're a D.C. resident. And no hand guns are allowed in D.C. workplaces.
Tom Goldman, NPR News.