Commissioner David Stern has done all of the right things for the NBA with his dictator-like leadership. One of his many goals has been to shed any negative light reflected on the league and he's done a pretty good job of that so far.
But Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton have pushed the NBA's image in the wrong direction.
On Dec. 21, 2009, Washington Wizards teammates Crittenton and Arenas allegedly pulled guns on each other in the team locker room. Apparently, Arenas had been storing multiple guns at the Verizon Center.
Crittenton was excused from games and practices by the Wizards and Arenas was handed an indefinite suspension by David Stern, awaiting results of the police investigation against him.
I'm sorry, but how many people do you know who could bring their guns to work, waive it around for people to see, and not get fired. Aside from my uncle who was a cop, I can't think of any.
As a fan of the NBA, there are specific ways I want certain people to look at the NBA. I want my favorite players, owners, and GMs to look past the business side of the NBA and try to focus all of their energy on bringing a championship to their fans.
The commissioner, however, is a different story.
The commissioner is the one person in the NBA that wants to see the league as a business. Any company CEO would have fired Arenas on the spot. It should be handled the same way in the NBA. It's one thing if he was caught at a club with a gun (Plaxico), but it's entirely different when you're caught at work.
I'm trying to think of one, but I just can't find a downside to banning Arenas from the NBA. It's a win-win for everyone except Arenas.
Here's the breakdown:
1. Arenas basically missed the past two seasons anyways due to injury. It's not like we wouldn't be used to not seeing him on the court.
2. It would set a no tolerance policy for players and guns that should have been set a long time ago. Let's face it, illegal gun possession has been a problem for all professional sports leagues. Banning a high profile player with the type of career Arenas had would be the perfect way to set the example for other players in the league. It would show that it doesn't matter who you are—if you break the rules you will have to suffer the consequences.
3. The Wizards would get out of that horrible contract extension they gave him and would be able to take the first step in rebuilding. (The next step would hopefully be cleaning house. If I were a Wizards fan, I would want every player in that circle around Arenas while he was doing that gun dance out of Washington.)
4. Players would feel safer in the locker room. I know they didn't show it, but there are definitely some Wizards players that had to have been freaked out by one of their teammates keeping guns in his locker. You can't tell me that Argentina native Fabricio Oberto isn't the least bit afraid of the kid from L.A. packing heat.
5. This would push the NBA's image in the right direction again. Unfortunately there's a looming image that the NBA is a league full of thugs. We saw this opinion appear specifically with the notorious Detroit and Indiana fight back in 2004. There are many people that can't look past acts performed by specific individuals. Instead, they lump the entire league into one stereotype. Banning Arenas would ensure that people would move on from this event, rather than Arenas coming back from suspension and the gun talk starting all over again.
6. He kept his guns in his locker. There shouldn't have to be any reason other than that. He kept a gun where he works. That's like finding out that Greg, two cubicles down from you, was keeping a pistol in his file cabinet. Not only that, but he made fun of it afterword with the dance he did and the comments he made.
With all of the crazy things Arenas has done over the past few weeks, he doesn't deserve to be in the NBA. So many players are out there doing all of the right things and conducting themselves properly; we shouldn't have to hear about how one player did something wrong. Just let Arenas go so the NBA and it's fans can all move on from this ridiculous incident.