Blog Entry

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

Posted on: January 27, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2010 6:46 pm
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NEW YORK -- Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, whose dispute involving guns on NBA property plunged the league into another image crisis, were both suspended for the rest of the 2009-10 season Wednesday.

NBA commissioner David Stern announced the suspensions in a strongly worded news release after meeting with Arenas at the NBA offices for a little more than an hour. Then, he blistered both players on a national media conference call, saying he's "simply not going to tolerate" guns on NBA property.

"We mean what we say when we say that guns are prohibited from being in our buildings or on team business," Stern said. "And when you violate that prohibition, you will be dealt with harshly."

Crittenton, the other party in the Dec. 21 argument at Verizon Center in Washington, met with Stern Tuesday. Both players have pleaded guilty to gun charges as a result of the incident.

“This is about the health and safety of our players – all players, as well as the overall image of our players," Stern said.

Sources told CBSSports.com that Arenas agreed not to appeal the suspension as a way to avoid a potentially longer sentence of a full 82 games, which would have stretched into next season. Stern denied there was any such agreement. Arenas, 28, a three-time All-Star and one of the most flamboyant performers in the league, will lose more than $7 million in salary and still faces possible discipline from the Wizards.

The Washington Post first reported the agreement between Stern and Arenas, who was accompanied in the meeting with Stern by his criminal defense attorney, Ken Wainstein, but not by any representatives from the players association.

Stern negotiated the suspension details with Billy Hunter, the executive director of the players association, over the past several days, but the collective bargaining agreement gave him sole discretion to deliver a suspension of any length under Article 35(d) of the NBA Constitution. The two also discussed strengthening the league's gun policy during negotiations on a new CBA, which are expected to begin in earnest during All-Star weekend in Dallas Feb. 12-14.

"We’re going to make, I would guess, an even stronger statement on the subject than is being made with the penalties being announced," Stern said.

Arenas arrived in New York shortly after 11 a.m. and went straight to the NBA offices on Fifth Avenue, where Stern had been waiting to speak with him before rendering his decision. According to a source, it was the first time Arenas had spoken with league officials about the Dec. 21 dispute.

Crittenton pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor gun charge stemming from the argument. Arenas previously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of carrying a pistol without a license and will be sentenced March 26.

Stern acknowledged that his decision to suspend Arenas indefinitely on Jan. 7 was a direct result of his conduct in the wake of the firearms investigation, which was first reported by CBSSports.com on Dec. 24. In the days after details of the incident became public, Arenas took to his Twitter page with wild, rambling statements and stated publicly in locker-room interviews that he'd done nothing wrong. His career careened out of control on Jan. 5, when in the pre-game huddle in Philadelphia he pantomimed shooting his teammates with finger guns. That, Stern said, was the last straw.

"I felt that I should do something to keep Gilbert from doing even further damage to himself," Stern said.

If Arenas accepts the suspension without appeal, he will miss 48 games -- the third-longest non-drug related suspension in NBA history, following Ron Artest (73) and Latrell Sprewell (68). Under provisions that call for him to forfeit 1/110th of his $16.2 million salary, Arenas' lost income will be $7,065,634.

Stern said he has not personally counseled the Wizards on whether or how it might be possible to void Arenas' contract, which has four years and $81 million remaining after this season -- though he acknowledged that such conversations would take place among attorneys for the parties involved.

The Wizards have taken no official steps indicating their intention to void Arenas' contract, which would be a tall order. Language in the CBA protects players from being punished by the league and the team for the same offense, except under "egregious" circumstances. Stern reiterated Wednesday that the league suspensions are "irrespective of any action the team might take."

"You’ll have to ask a lawyer," Stern said. "I'm just the commissioner. And I'm sure if you ask 10 lawyers, you’d get 10 different descriptions. That’s how those guys are. So I don’t want to practice law on this phone call other than to say the team is a separate issue."

The Wizards issued a statement saying the players "violated the trust of our fans," and that their "poor judgment ... stands in contrast to everything Abe Pollin stood for throughout his life."

Arenas, whose relationship with most members of the Wizards' hierarchy is fractured, has told confidants that he believes he's finished in Washington.

One legal fight that Arenas may have avoided is a potential grievance over his suspension. If he compels the players' association not to appeal, there will be no need for an arbitrator to rule on whether Arenas bringing guns to the Verizon Center locker room constituted an on-court or off-court offense. Suspensions in excess of 12 games for on-court offenses can be appealed to a grievance arbitrator; for all other matters, Stern is the arbitrator.

And he spoke Wednesday, loud and clear. 

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Comments

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2010 2:29 am
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

Glad you learned your lesson.



Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2010 9:35 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

The ironic thing I thought was, why bother trying to rationalize with a guy that reads and comments on articles he claims he doesn't care about, yet I still did. I won't make that mistake in the future.



Since: Dec 8, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2010 8:44 pm
 

The end for Javaris Crittenton?

What about Javaris Crittenton, unemployable? Out of the league? So far all the talk is about Arenas, he may feel he's done with the Wizards but someone looking for 20+ ppg will give him a try. I have to believe that this is it for Crittenton, he may be owed time on his contract but I`m sure he`ll be paid to go away.  It seems a shame Crittenton had to blow whatever chance he had in the NBA responding to some knucklehead bully like Arenas.



Since: Dec 4, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2010 8:30 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

I used to be a big Arenas fan, and I hate to not see him play the way that he was used too. I think it was right for them to suspend him for the year, but I still miss the guys game. When he was healthy he was one of the most fun players to watch on the offensive side of the ball. One play I will never forget is the game winner at Utah. He shot it and turned around with his hands up before it even went in. i don't think I have seen anyone do that ever.



Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: January 27, 2010 8:03 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

The most ironic part about this is that I thought to myself, "If I post this, how many people are going to say, 'if you don't care, don't read it and don't post blah blah blah blah blah.'"

I think were up to 4 people telling me this now, anyone else care to tell me what I should post on and what I shouldn't?

oh one more thing, the wizards still suck, they're not going to the playoffs, I don't care about your fantasy teams, and overall I. Just. Don't. Care.

PS. I'm watching sportcenter right now and this is the 3rd time that they have released the details of this story in the last 20 minutes. I think EVERYONE in America has heard the news by now. Excuse me while I go throw up




Since: Aug 31, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2010 5:22 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

Man this is bad news. I was shooting for a fantasy championship now this son of a gun does this. Now I must aim for second place while Gilbert has shot himself in the foot. I must reload my team from the waiver wire. When i make my comeback all guns a blazin, I will think back to the time I spent with Gilbert and wonder if I should bite the bullet and let it all roll off my chest. Maybe I should have seen it comin and unloaded him earlier. IN the meantime my team is a empty shell of what it once was. Next year you will not be in my sights Gilbert.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

Welcome to the world of unions my friends.  People keep saying that they did this at work they would be fired on the spot.  Not if you're in a big union like these NBA players are you wouldn't. 

I live in an insane union city in Windsor Ontario Canada just across from Detroit and I can tell you I know and I've heard of people that did all kinds of things they should have been fired over.  People have literally been caught stealing thousands of dollars in GPS systems out of factories and after 6 months of being suspended got called back WITH SOME BACK PAY !!!

I know others that get high on work property at lunch.  Others that get wasted on work property on their breaks and even when they are working.  Rarely, and I mean RARELY does anybody ever get fired.  It just doesn't happen.

Now, you say guns are worse?  Maybe.  But when nobody gets hurt then my answer to that is no, it doesn't matter at all.  And I can tell you that the union in the NBA makes the CAW in Canada and the UAW in the states look tiny.  They may have less members in the NBA's union but they have way more power.

Piss off the autoworkers bad enough and they'll go to Mexico come contract time.  But in the NBA all the players have to do is strike for things like this and for the commissioner to have less power and they'll win.  The owners and league lose billions in gross revenue, advertisers, etc and they just can't just move the NBA that easily.

So get used to it.  They don't live in your world or mine, they live in their own world and their own economy and always will.



Since: Jan 21, 2007
Posted on: January 27, 2010 4:42 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

David Stern should BAN BOTH Arenas & Crittenden for life from the NBA!!! You have to set an example sometime, somewhere & this would be the PERFECT PLACE to start!!



Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: January 27, 2010 4:36 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

I am pretty sure if I brought guns to work and threatened a co-worker I would be more than suspended. He should be gone for good.



Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: January 27, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Arenas suspended for rest of season (UPDATE)

I think the punishment fit the crime. What he did was absolutely stupid, and should have been, and was, dealt with harshly. The guy shouldn't be thrown out of the league, because no one got hurt. Stern did the right thing here. Now if Arenas does anything else with guns, toss his ass out. (Aware this is the second gun charge.)


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com