January 28, 2010 in Uncategorized
Finally after a month of new stories and speculation, there is a resolution in the Gilbert Arenas/Javaris Crittenton gun case (though not completely since the contract issue still needs to be resolved). NBA commissioner David Stern announced that both players will be suspended without pay for the remainder of the season. This was a strong and bold step for the NBA, and was interesting on a few levels. The first being the length of the suspensions, which will be two of the longest in NBA history. Hopefully, they will send a bold and clear message that NBA players, either stars like Arenas or backups like Crittenton, aren't above the law and consequences for their actions.
The other interesting thing about these suspensions is its based them breaking NBA bylaws of bringing weapons to the arena, rather than the criminal charges. Now whether they did this because the charges against Arenas and Crittenton were pleaded down so far, or they wanted to show the supremacy of the NBA is unclear. Either way it sets a smart precedent for the league, to be able to take action against a player regardless of the criminal case.
While a lot can be said about Gilbert Arenas for his actions and the way he handled himself with this whole situation, I do give him credit for admitting his guilt and supporting Stern's decision to suspend him for the rest of the season. I think not having a protracted court battle, or players union fight is good for the League, the Wizards and Arenas himself.
Now it will be interesting to see how the contract situation plays out and whether or not the Wizards go ahead with plans to void his contract. They will probably wait until after his sentencing in March to see just how much legal standing they have. I think they will go ahead with it, regardless of how much time Arenas gets. His complete admission of guilt, NBA suspension, and felony conviction seemingly give the Wizards enough cause to void the contract. I also think its pretty clear that NBA will fully support the Wizards if they try to void the contract, as they have shown a no tolerance policy in this case and I don't see them letting up. Also, I have to believe that with Arenas not having the players association to fight the suspension, it could make it harder for them to mount a case to fight the voiding of the contract.
It will be an interesting story to watch this spring and summer as to whether or not they can void the contract. Either way I commend the NBA and the Wizards for being strict and definitive in this process. Hopefully this will send a message to players and fans alike, that the League is serious about personal conduct and obeying the law.