Don't Call the NBA a Thug League Because Arenas Is an Idiot

Greg EspositoContributor IIJanuary 6, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19:  Gilbert Arenas #0 of the Washington Wizards reacts 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

(Originally published on Phoenix.Fanster.com)

I’m as straight-laced as they come: a twenty-six year old white guy who doesn’t have a gun, a tattoo, a piercing, or a rap album (Limp Bizkit doesn’t count right?).

As a matter of fact, you’ve probably seen loaves of white bread with more street cred than I have. I’m exactly the type of person that is supposed to hate the NBA  because of its “culture.”

Guess what? I don’t.

As a matter of fact, I love the game and know that not even a majority of the  NBA players are, what many call, thugs. The fact that Gilbert Arenas brought handguns into the Washington Wizards’ locker room doesn’t change my mind.

When Arenas decided to use his locker at the the Verizon Center as a safe deposit box by storing four handguns in it, regardless of what you believe about the events that followed, he not only broke  NBA rules and District of Columbia laws, he opened the flood gates for the “ NBA is overrun with criminals” debate.

Don’t believe me? Check out Michael Ozanian’s article on Forbes.com .

He point blank says, “Many NBA players carry guns and the league is full of thugs” because of Arenas’ actions. That statement is from a respected media outlet that prides itself as a place for the "World’s Business Leaders" (although that does translate to "old, rich, white men", so I guess it makes sense).

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Ozanian’s expertise? It’s neither an NBA insider nor a socioeconomic expert. His beat is  “corporate earnings, economics and sports team valuations.”

I guess the “thugs” in the NBA neighborhood must be dropping the property value for the owners.

Ozanian wasn’t alone in his assessment of Arenas and the NBA; he just happened to be one of the first to express it.

He along with numerous other writers, cable news talking heads, and commentators on radio and blogs, championed the “just another example of the NBA lifestyle” argument.

The problem is, it’s an example of complete and utter stupidity, not an indictment of the NBA.

This isn’t a race issue, an  NBA issue, a professional sports issue, or a societal one. It is an issue of personal intelligence and how much of it Arenas is lacking.

Arenas’ explanation? He took four guns out of his home and to his place of work because he didn’t want them near his children (Hear of a gun safe? You can get them for $100.).

Apparently he forgot the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expressly prohibits players from bringing guns to team facilities. Not to mention the federal and state gun laws he broke.

Both are extremely dumb but not as dumb as deciding to use unloaded guns to play a “joke”, as he called it, on a teammate.

Arena's Twitter messages, jovial comments to the media with a nonchalant attitude about the situation, solidify the assertion. Rather than seriously addressing the situation, he continues to crack jokes and act like,well, like Gilbert Arenas.

The act is cute but wears quite thin in the midst of a serious and criminal issue.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is photographic evidence of how seriously he’s taking the situation. Would an intelligent man in the midst of a gun controversy be photographed doing this?

gilbertarenas0110580 (Note: The picture was taken earlier this week.)

The ironic thing is, this event doesn’t even make Arenas a “thug”. By definition, a thug is an aggressive and violent young criminal. Arenas only seems to fit the young part and will soon fit the criminal part.

To use Arenas’ situation to define the NBA is similar to saying myself and every other person who attends the University of Arizona is as unintelligent as him by association.

Regardless of those who attended Arizona State say, it’s isn’t true.

Dissect the Arenas situation all you want. Criticize him every chance you get. Arrest him and suspend him. Just do it for the right reasons and not for being a thug.

Arenas took the guns away from his house so they weren’t near his kids. Now the  NBA and law enforcement have to take them from him for being one.

Apparently zero isn’t just his number of choice, it also about as much thought as he puts into his actions.


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