David Stern Lives Up to Surname in Suspending Gilbert Arenas Indefinitely

Matt Petersen@@TheMattPetersenCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 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

You can say this much for David Stern. He doesn't need a nickname to live up to. His own will do just fine.

Stern responded decisively to Gilbert Arenas' less-than-subtle revealing of firearms in an NBA locker room (that of the former Washington Bullets, no less) —an indefinite suspension, with Stern alluding to "perhaps worse" to come.

This shouldn't come as a surprise. Stern suspended Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire from a Game Five playoff game for merely leaving the bench. He felt justified in suspending Ron Artest for the rest of the 2004-05 season for wielding fists in the arena. It's no surprise the commish would view the wielding of guns in an NBA arena as exponentially worse.

In truth, how can the punishment, even unfinalized as it is, be criticized? In any workplace, would you want a coworker to bust out a gun in the break room?

Arenas chose the wrong way and wrong setting to be a volume shooter. Unfortunately for Agent Zero, he forgot Stern has zero tolerance for any acts of immaturity or hostility.

Sometimes that zero-tolerance policy can be carried too far. Flagrant fouls and suspensions issued for adrenaline-induced gestures during a competitive game is ridiculous (see the 2007 Suns/Spurs series). Even the whole dress-code idea was too rigidly enforced at first.

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This? This is completely different.

This involves players acting without the distorting effects of a game on the line and fans in the stands. Arenas had to have had some kind of feeling, if not a complete knowledge, that taking firearms into an NBA arena was wrong. Pulling them out, whether it was in jest (as he claims) or not is even less acceptable.

So Stern did 1) what he had to do and 2) what he should have done. This leaves no room for misinterpretation of the rule itself nor the NBA's stance on it.

Aside from Stern, two conclusions can be drawn from this.

1) The Wiz have successfully outdone their previous worst contract extension (Juwan Howard, seven years, $105 million).

2) Chris Paul will be asked to do a lot more NBA Cares commercials.

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