Don’t Bring Your Gun to the (Gilbert) Arenas!

I think it takes a special kind of person to come up with some sort of logical explanation about what was running through Gilbert Arenas’ mind on December 21, 2009.

Arenas, a professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards, brought four unloaded firearms into Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center before a game in an attempt to intimidate teammate Javaris Crittenton into paying off a gambling debt from a card game with Arenas. For good measure, Crittenton pulled out his own gun, actually loaded and cocked it before the situation was eventually calmed.

Arenas and Crittenton were suspended indefinitely for the rest of the regular season (Arenas for 60 games, third longest suspension in NBA history; Crittenton had not played all season because of an injury). Currently Arenas is awaiting a sentence on the conviction of carrying an unlicensed pistol outside a home or business.

In the middle of a six-year, $11 million dollar contract which pays him almost $150,000 a game, Areas is losing roughly a $9 million for the season which does not even include the potential lost endorsements.

The part I find the most troubling is Arenas’ attitude regarding the whole situation. When the report first surfaced, Arenas mocked the charges by making fake guns with his fingers during a pre-game introduction. On Arenas’ personal Twitter, he wrote, “I woke up this morning and seen I was the new JOHN WAYNE. Lmao. Media is too funny.”

Here is a heads up Gilbert: gun violence takes thousands of lives a year and there is nothing funny about what you did.

Why do you even own four guns?

What are the odds you actually get in a shootout and need to go through four weapons’ worth of ammunition before you hit the other guy?

Did you not learn anything from athletes like Michael Vick about how much you can lose if you behave badly?

Arenas has since apologized to the city of Washington D.C. and has promised to work with the city’s youth in gun control education.

He is not the only pro athlete who has been entangled in gun problems. Various professional athletes including former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Delonte West have recently had weapon charges. Burress is currently serving a two-year prison term for discharging an unregistered handgun in a New York night club in November 2008.
Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett is serving a three-year prison term for federal weapons charges after he was pulled over in 2006 with two loaded handguns, a loaded AK-47 and a samurai sword. Many of these incidents are quite startling particularly with the large amounts of weapons some athletes are found with.

I understand one of the main reasons athletes carry weapons is for protection as there have been a number of incidents of professional athletes being robbed at gunpoint. The NFL’s Steve Smith of the New York Giants, Dunta Robinson of the Houston Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jerome McDougle are just three examples of numerous football players who have been robbed. Former NBA player Antoine Walker, the New York Knicks’ Eddy Curry, and former New Jersey Nets guard Stephon Marbury have also all experienced similar robbery attempts sometime in their careers.
Tragically, we can also recall incidents of pro athletes being killed such as Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams and Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor in 2007 in a drive-by shooting and attempted robbery, respectively.

These situations are tragic and a distressing consequence of fame for some professional athletes but, nevertheless, they do not provide an excuse to misuse firearms.

There is quite a difference between carrying a concealed weapon for protection and shooting a pistol in the air in the parking lot of a strip club at 4 AM. However I have never heard of an athlete escaping an attempted robbery because he was carrying a firearm.

Some athletes draw attention to themselves by flaunting their wealth with expensive diamond chains, luxurious automobiles and big rolls of cash.

If these professional athletes are so concerned about being robbed when they go out, maybe they need to either not wear things that bring attention or just stay at home and not go out. To me, that is a small price to pay to live a life that 99.9 percent of the world would love to experience for five minutes.

There is currently too much negative publicity with professional athletes and guns when the unfortunate reality now is that many have to carry them in order to feel safe. While overall I think it is important that professional athletes protect themselves using whatever means they feel necessary, it is unfortunate there are people like Arenas and Burress who act irresponsibly with firearms.