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Memo to Gilbert Arenas: Shooting Guard is a Position, Not a Bad Pun

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19:  Gilbert Arenas #0 of the Washington Wizards sits on the bench 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)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

According to reports coming out of Washington, both the NBA and Washington, D.C., police are investigating star guard Gilbert Arenas after the Wizards acknowledged he kept unloaded guns in his locker at the Verizon Center.

The Wizards released a statement qualifying their knowledge of the issue on Dec. 24, but now both ESPN and the New York Post are reporting that the US District Attorney's Office in Washington is working with the local authorities to investigate the matter.

Additional reports are that on Dec. 24, Arenas got into an argument regarding a gambling debt with teammate Javaris Crittenton and both pulled a gun inside the Wizards' locker room.

I know you don't need a college degree to play in the NBA, but is common sense also optional? And, more importantly, how did either player get a firearm into the locker room?

Almost every year, there is news or video of teammates in any professional sport getting into a fight. Athletes will tell you that a team is a brotherhood, and it's just like two siblings working out their differences. The old "Boys will be boys" cliche is used quickly and often.

This news takes concerns about professional athletes, their ability to make rational decisions, and the safety of both players and fans into a new context.

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When Carlos Zambrano punched his catcher, Michael Barrett, in the Cubs' dugout a couple years ago, Chicago baseball fans thought they both needed to grow up. But it was contained to two guys in the locker room.

When Tom Cable allegedly punched one of his assistant coaches in the face in 2009, that assistant coach was put in the hospital with a broken jaw.

Whether you believe Cable's story or the assistant's, this was an issue that took place behind closed doors and between two men.

If guns are going to enter the equation, the game changes completely.

What frustrates me is that Arenas doesn't even need to leave Washington to see what a mix of guns and athletes can mean.

I'm fairly confident that every member of last year's Redskins team that dealt with the loss of Sean Taylor would like the opportunity to smack Arenas, and Crittenton, with some common sense.

I'm pretty sure Steve McNair's family, and former teammates just up the street in Baltimore, would like the opportunity to sit down with Arenas and explain to him what his selfish actions could mean to both his loved ones and those of someone he might hurt.

I don't know Arenas. I don't know where he's been in life or how he spends his personal time. His life is his business. But as a fan, I feel that reality is clear.

There is absolutely no good reason in this age of heightened security that a professional athlete would need to keep firearms in his locker at the stadium in which he plays his home games. None.

Whoever it was on the security staff at the Verizon Center or with the Wizards that told Arenas it was okay to keep the gun in his locker should be unemployed. And Arenas should think long and hard about the realities of what guns can do.