Guns in the Arena (A Shaggy Dog NEWS Story)
- From: Alex Ramirez <fetawhey@...>
Guns in the Arena
The following article appeared in the NY Post on line:
"NBA all-star Gilbert Arenas and his Washington Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other in the team's locker room during a Christmas Eve dispute over a gambling debt, The Post has learned. League sources say the pistol-packing point guards had heaters at the ready inside the Verizon Center, the Washington, DC, home of the Wizards -- whose name was changed from the Bullets over gun violence concerns. It was the three time all-star Arenas, 27, who went for his gun first, sources said, drawing on the 22-year-old Crittenton, who quickly brandished a firearm as well.
It was not clear whether other teammates saw the shocking standoff, which happened on a practice day. The duel in DC, unprecedented in sports history, was sparked when Crittenton became enraged at the veteran guard for refusing to make good on a gambling debt, a source said.
"I'm not your punk!" Crittenton shouted at Arenas, according to a league source close to the Wizards.
That prompted Arenas to draw on Crittenton, who then also grabbed for a gun, league security sources said.
A playground pal of Crittenton's from Atlanta, Kendrick "Bookie Ball" Long, confirmed the locker room standoff and said he learned of it directly from the third year player out of Georgia Tech. "He [Arenas] was f- - -ing with him; he [Crittenton] was just defending himself!" declared Long, who said the dispute was over money but would not elaborate.
The Wizards announced on Christmas Day that Arenas had admitted to bringing guns to the locker room and had turned them over to team security. No ammunition was handed over.
The NBA club's statement didn't disclose how Wizards officials discovered that Arenas was storing weapons on the job. But a league source said Arenas' weapons were uncovered only after the confrontation with Crittenton.
Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld declined to comment. "It's in the hands of [Washington] authorities," said Grunfeld, a former star Knicks player and president. "We're going to get to the bottom of this, if there is a bottom to this."
Washington police said they were investigating Arenas for gun-possession violations.
But the Wizards' gun grab has also drawn the attention of the feds. "We're working with the Metropolitan Police Department on the investigation. That's about all we can say at his point," said Ben Friedman, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in DC.
The feds have been investigating gambling within the NBA since disgraced ex-referee Tim Donaghy admitted betting on games and feeding information to bookies. It was not clear whether the gambling debt that sparked the Arenas-Crittenton duel had anything to do with league games.
A top players union official said he was shocked by the allegations. "This is unprecedented in the history of sports," said Player's Association Executive Director Billy Hunter. "I've never heard of players pulling guns on each other in a locker room."
Team owner Abe Pollin, his sensitivity heightened by the fatal shooting of his good friend Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, changed the club from the Bullets to the Wizards in 1997 because he didn't like the violent overtones of the original name. Pollin died in November.
Arenas, who has three kids, reportedly told team officials he brought guns to his Verizon Center locker so they wouldn't be close to his newborn at their home in Great Falls, Va.
He denied pulling a gun on Crittenton and even mocked the suggestion he would ever point a weapon at a teammate. "You guys, I wanted to go rob banks, I wanted to be a bank robber on the weekends," Arenas said sarcastically after a game this week.
Firearm laws in Washington are among the nation's strictest. Until a recent US Supreme Court ruling, private ownership of guns was illegal in the nation's capital. As it stands now, gun owners are allowed to transport firearms only within DC under very limited circumstances, such as taking the weapon to be registered or to a practice range. There's no provision under current DC law for a private citizen to have a gun at work.
In 2003, Arenas pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon in San Francisco. Arenas claimed the gun was legally registered in Arizona, where he was star player for the University of Arizona Wildcats, and said he forgot he needed California authorization to carry it there.
Crittenton hasn't played a minute this season for the Wizards and has struggled to overcome a bone bruise and strained tendons."
And the following article is from a blog on CBSsports.com. :
"The NBA and its players' union will investigate whether a firearms possession probe of Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas stemmed from a dispute with teammate Javaris Crittenton, two sources told CBSSports.com Friday.
Once a criminal probe is completed, an investigation by league security will expand after the New York Post and Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that Arenas' possession of firearms in the Verizon Center locker room in the days before Christmas Eve was related to an argument with Crittenton, a high-level source with knowledge of the probe said. The Post reported that the players pulled guns on each other during the argument on a practice day, while Yahoo! reported that the focus of the probe was whether Arenas had accessed his firearms during the argument.
Reporting via Twitter, Michael Lee of the Washington Post quoted Arenas as saying after practice Friday that he is considering suing the New York Post. "I saw the story," Arenas said. "Very compelling. Some real O. K. corral stuff." Arenas added, "That's not the real story."
The league inquiry, which began several days before CBSSports.com first reported on Dec. 24 that Arenas was being investigated, initially focused on Arenas as the only team member to have possessed guns on team property, a clear violation of NBA rules.
"There's no question the whole thing is going to be looked at," one of the sources with knowledge of the probe said.
League authorities became aware of the matter in the days before CBSSports.com's Christmas Eve report that Arenas allegedly had possessed firearms in the locker room. Wizards officials scheduled a meeting with Washington, D.C., authorities for Dec. 23 to come clean about the matter, given the District's stringent gun-control laws. The meeting couldn't be arranged that day, so the team rescheduled for Dec. 24, several hours before CBSSports.com's story was published online, one of the sources said.
After that report, the Wizards issued a statement saying that Arenas had stored unloaded firearms in a locked container in his locker at Verizon Center, and that the team was cooperating with NBA and legal authorities. Arenas told the Washington Times that he'd brought the guns to the locker room after deciding he no longer wanted them in his home after the birth of his daughter on Dec. 10. He told reporters this week that he'd removed them from his locker only to have them turned over to authorities because he didn't want them anymore.
Washington, D.C., police issued a statement Wednesday saying they were investigating the presence of firearms at Verizon Center, without providing further details. Arenas said this week that authorities inquiring about the matter were mainly interested in whether he had obtained the guns legally. Arenas, 27, has a history of flirting with firearms possession laws; he was suspended for the 2004-05 season opener after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of failing to maintain proper registration of a firearm in California while with the Warriors in 2003.
Ben Friedman, spokesman for the U. S. Attorney's Office in D. C., told the Post that his office was working with D. C. police on the investigation. A call to the public information office of the Metropolitan Police Department was not returned Friday.
The Post reported that the alleged dispute between Arenas and Crittenton stemmed from a gambling debt. A source with knowledge of the probe was unaware if that was among the details shared initially with NBA security, but the league has stated that it will investigate all aspects of the case.
Commissioner David Stern, who has not commented publicly on the Arenas investigation, has a history of waiting for the legal process to run its course before issuing penalties -- for fear of compromising investigations by law enforcement. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Friday that the league is not planning take any disciplinary action until the criminal investigation is completed.
"There is an active investigation by D. C. law enforcement authorities, which we are monitoring closely," Frank said in an emailed statement. "We are not taking any independent action at this time."
A full-fledged probe and penalties from the league office would have to wait until the criminal investigation is closed, since players would be unlikely to speak with league attorneys for fear that those records would be subpoenaed by law enforcement.
In addition to the NBA investigation, which could result in fines and/or suspensions, the NBA Players Association expects to initiate its own probe to ensure that "the facts are investigated and weighed," a second person with knowledge of the situation said Friday. Once it is determined that interviews with the players involved are necessary, the matter would be turned over to NBPA general counsel Gary Hall, a retired federal prosecutor, and director of security Robert Gadson, a retired New York City police detective, the source said.
Billy Hunter, the NBPA's executive director, said he was aware of the report and was in the process of gathering facts. Wizards spokesman Scott Hall issued a statement reiterating that the team is cooperating with law enforcement and the NBA and will have no further comment.
Wallace Prather, listed in the NBPA directory as Crittenton's agent, said Friday he resigned from representing the player on Dec. 10 and has no knowledge of the allegations against his former client. Arenas, who signed a six-year, $111 million contract with the Wizards in July 2008, has no agent listed in the NBPA directory.
NBA rules collectively bargained with the players forbid the possession of firearms on league property or in the course of league business.
In 2006, Sebastian Telfair was fined an undisclosed amount after a loaded handgun registered to his girlfriend was found on the team plane at Logan Airport in Boston when Telfair played for the Trail Blazers.
Cavaliers guard Delonte West has been indicted on multiple weapons counts in Maryland for riding on his motorcycle Sept. 17 with two loaded handguns, a shotgun, 112 shotgun shells, and an 8.5-inch knife.
If guns are found to have been wielded during a dispute between Arenas and Crittenton, it is believed that the offense would be unprecedented in NBA history and would carry heavy penalties.
The new details on the Arenas probe are only the latest twist in a dismal season for the Wizards, who were expected to emerge as a top contender in the Eastern Conference after trading for veterans Mike Miller and Randy Foye and getting Arenas back in the lineup after he played only 15 games in the past two seasons due to an assortment of knee injuries. Arenas, a three-time All-Star, has struggled to adapt to new coach Flip Saunders' system, and the Wizards (10-20) are ahead of only Indiana, Philadelphia, and New Jersey in the conference playoff race."
Apparently Gilbert Arenas fancies himself to be a shooting guard. (By Alex Ramirez)