VIA: Washington Post
NBA Commissioner David Stern today suspended Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas and reserve Javaris Crittenton for the remainder of the season.
In a statement, Stern explained that there was no question that the players violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement by bringing guns into the Verizon Center locker room.
“The issue here is not about the legal ownership and possession of guns, either in one’s home or elsewhere,” Stern said in a statement. “It is about possession of guns in the NBA workplace, which will not be tolerated.”
The Wizards released a statment saying they supported the league’s decision.
“Both players violated D.C. laws and NBA rules by bringing guns into the locker room,” the statement said. “Their poor judgment has also violated the trust of our fans and stands in contrast to everything 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.”
A person familiar with today’s meeting between Arenas and Stern said the Wizards’ three-time all-star guard had requested to be suspended for the remainder of the season.
Stern had been considering suspending him for 82 games.
According to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Arenas also told Stern that he would tell the players’ union not to fight the suspension.
Arenas met with Stern at the league offices in New York for nearly an hour this afternoon. He was accompanied by his attorney, Ken Wainstein.
The meeting came nearly two weeks after Arenas pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge and was expected to provide Stern with the final details before he determined a punishment for Arenas and Crittenton, who were involved in a locker room dispute in which guns were displayed at Verizon Center on Dec. 21.
Arenas was suspended indefinitely for his behavior after the incident was first reported, including his decision to mockingly pretend he was shooting his teammates with his fingers before a game in Philadelphia on Jan. 5. Arenas has missed the past 12 games while serving the suspension. The Wizards have 38 games remaining, which would put the total of suspension at 50 games.
Arenas’s suspension is the third-most severe non-drug-related NBA suspension. Ron Artest was suspended 86 games (73 regular season and 13 playoff postseason) for his role in the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills in November 2004, and Latrell Sprewell was originally suspended for a full year for attempting to choke then-Golden State Warriors Coach P.J. Carlesimo in 1997, but an arbitrator later reduced the suspension to just 68 games.
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