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Arenas' Antics Left Absolute Zero Room For Leniency

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19:  Gilbert Arenas #0 of the Washington Wizards during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 19, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Wizards 121-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Harrison MooreAnalyst IIJanuary 9, 2010

Blackballing in the NBA is no longer an unproven spook story, it’s a stark reality. Players of Arenas’ mold (high scorers with good-but-not-great overall talent who play on teams with zero potential post-season relevancy) have proven to be especially vulnerable.

This article won’t detail the rights and wrongs of bringing in firearms into an NBA locker room; that action is quite capable of speaking for itself. Instead, I’ll ask this: if you found yourself in the middle of the ocean in shark territory, would you draw attention to yourself?

Arenas did.

For once, David Stern chose to show a little leniency. He was content to allow the legal process to play itself out before deciding on whether or not to take action, but that was before Arenas forced the issue with his flippant Tweeter posts and nonchalant disposition.

Now he has to be made an example of.

There are so many people in this world with blank picket signs and markers in their pockets, just looking to join the next crusade against whatever celebrity happens to be in the hotseat, now Arenas has given them all the ammunition they need.

Given that Arenas spent the lion’s share of the previous two seasons on the shelf nursing injuries, his indefinite suspension hurts even more.

Teams are showing less and less patience for athletes given the near-permanent label of “team distraction” and when you couple that with the health issues he’s shown in the past, there’s no end of damage Arenas’ misjudgment could potentially have on his career. Some analysts have even speculated that he’s played his last game as a Wizard.

As unfortunate as all this is, Arenas only has himself to blame.

Most criminal justice studies declare that after one is pulled over by a police officer, the biggest determinate in the officer’s course of action is one’s reaction to being pulled over. Arenas’ reaction was consistent with the devil-may-care, lighthearted demeanor that made him appealing to so many fans, but this time its cost him dearly.

Here’s to hoping that Arenas will be able to redeem his name and resume his career in the near future. If either means anything to him, he’ll be shooting straight from now on.

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