In response to the NBA’s decision to suspend him indefinitely, without pay, Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas released the following statement through his attorney:
“I feel very badly that my actions have caused the NBA to suspend me, but I understand why the league took this action. I put the NBA in a negative light and let down my teammates and our fans. I am very sorry for doing that. While I never intended any harm or disrespect to the NBA or anyone else, my gun possession at the Verizon Center and my attempts at humor showed terrible judgment. I take full responsibility for my conduct.”
Arenas added that he had called NBA commissioner David Stern to apologize.
More details have also begun to emerge about the incident that led to Arenas’ suspension. Here are the details from the Gilbert Arenas gun incident according to the Washington Post.
The dispute between Arenas and Crittenton began on the team plane during a popular card game between players called “Boo-ray.” Crittenton lost roughly $1,100 to JaVale McGee, a Wizards center, in the game, according to a player who watched the game and who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Crittenton, already angry over a dispute over the game’s rules, became irate when Arenas began needling him.
Their barbs escalated to a point where Arenas, smiling, said he would blow up Crittenton’s car, according to two players on the flight, who requested anonymity. Crittenton replied that he would shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired knee.
Walking into the locker room two days after the dispute on the team plane, according to two witnesses, Arenas laid out the guns in Crittenton’s locker. Two other teammates eventually sauntered in and, while Arenas was writing the note in front of Crittenton’s cubicle, in walked Crittenton, according to their account.
Asking Arenas what he was doing, Arenas replied, “If you want to shoot me, I’d just thought I’d make it easy for you.” As other teammates laughed, Crittenton crumpled up the paper, tossed one of Arenas’s guns across the room, where it bounced in front of a team trainer, and said he didn’t need any of Arenas’s firearms because he had his own, according to the witness accounts.
Neither witness said the gun was ever pointed at Arenas, but both said Crittenton began singing as he held the gun.
Arenas began laughing, the witnesses said, telling Crittenton, “Look at that little shiny gun,” as two other players slowly retreated to the training room.
Crittenton then drew his weapon, loaded it and chambered a round, the witnesses said.
NEW YORK — The NBA has suspended the Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas indefinitely.
“Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a 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,” commissioner David Stern said in a statement Wednesday. “Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”
Because Arenas violated NBA rules by bringing guns into Washington’s locker room, Stern decided to punish Arenas now. He said the suspension begins immediately.
Stern says he originally planned to wait for the criminal investigation to be completed before taking action, and directed the Wizards to do the same.
Every game Arenas ends up missing during the suspension will cost him $147,208.
The suspension comes after multiple media reports over the weekend said that a dispute over a gambling debt led to a conflict between Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton.
Multiple sources told ESPN.com that an argument commenced during a card game on the team’s overnight flight back to Washington from Phoenix on Dec. 19 and escalated into a heated exchange between Arenas and Crittenton. The Wizards had Dec. 20 off, but sources say hostilities between the two resumed Dec. 21 in the locker room on a practice day.
Sources say that Arenas, in response to what was said on the flight, placed the three guns on a chair near Crittenton’s locker stall and invited him to pick one before practice on Dec. 21. Sources said that Crittenton subsequently let Arenas know that he had his own gun.
The Washington Post reported in Sunday’s editions that Arenas, according to sources, was expecting Crittenton to see the guns on his chair as a joke based on the earlier back-and-forth on the plane, during which Crittenton allegedly said that he would shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired knee. But Crittenton, according to Post, reacted angrily and tossed one of the guns to the floor, saying he had his own.
In his statement, Arenas confirmed that the guns were brought out at the Dec. 21 practice.
“As I have said before, I had kept the four unloaded handguns in my house in Virginia but then moved them over to my locker at the Verizon Center to keep them away from my young kids,” the statement read. “I brought them without any ammunition into the District of Columbia, mistakenly believing that the recent change in the D.C. gun laws allowed a person to store unloaded guns in the District. On Monday, December 21st, I took the unloaded guns out in a misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate.
“Contrary to some press accounts, I never threatened or assaulted anyone with the guns and never pointed them at anyone. Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong. I should not have brought the guns to D.C. in the first place, and I now realize that there’s no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns — even if unloaded.”
Arenas met with law enforcement officials on Monday to explain why he had guns at the Verizon Center last month.
Arenas’ lawyer issued a statement saying that the player met with federal prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department for more than two hours.
At the NBA’s request, the firearms language was bolstered during collective bargaining in 2005. Players are subject to discipline if they bring guns to the arena or practice facility, or even an offsite promotional appearance.