Wizards€ Star Gilbert Arenas Faces Gun Charges
Carla Peay | 1/4/2010, 8:17 a.m.
Arenas to Meet with District Police on Monday, Jan. 4
A near sellout crowd showed up at the Verizon Center in Northwest for the game between the Wizards and the San Antonio Spurs on Sat., Jan. 2. But the contest on the court took a backseat to the real news out of the Wizards camp, which surrounds all-star guard Gilbert Arenas and an investigation into possible felony gun charges.
In a story first reported by the New York Post and Yahoo Sports, Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton had a confrontation in the Wizards locker room during which Arenas and Crittenton drew guns on one another over a $25,000 debt that Arenas owed Crittenton. The dispute reportedly began on a team flight from Phoenix on Sat., Dec. 19, and continued in the team locker room on Mon., Dec. 21. An investigation is currently underway by Federal authorities, District police and the NBA.
After Saturday night€s game, Arenas€ spoke to the media regarding the situation.€It was clearly bad judgment on my part,€ Arenas said referring to the earlier charges that he bought guns into the Verizon Center and placed in his locker. He has since turned the guns over to team security. The guns were not loaded and there was no ammunition with the weapons.
€It was better than throwing them in the trash,€ he said. But despite the investigation, Arenas said he was not nervous about any possible criminal charges.
€I€m a goofball. I€m going to make fun of it. Why be depressed about it at home?€ Arenas added that the story has been blown a bit out of proportion by the media.
€I have to keep a smile on my face and make fun of myself,€ Arenas said. He declined to discuss the specifics of the case. He said that he €couldn€t talk about it,€ but is actively posting comments about the situation on his Twitter account.
He also denied that he has a gambling problem, or that there are any problems between him and Crittenton. €I play poker on the computer. If I€m losing, I just reset the game,€ Arenas said. He also described Crittenton as a friend.
€We were friends before this, and we are friends now,€ Arenas said, as he tried to steer the conversation away from his potential legal troubles and back to basketball.
€My concern is on the court. We aren€t playing the way we should,€ Arenas said. But the Wizards, who lost to the Spurs 97-86 to drop their record to 10-21 on the season, were not distracted by the off the court problems, said head coach Flip Saunders.
€There€s no question we have a lot going on [off the court], but we have responded well despite the distractions,€ Saunders said.
Wizards co-captain Antawn Jamison, said he finds nothing amusing in the situation surrounding his often-described €quirky€ teammate.
€This is nothing that you joke about at all. I wouldn't [describe] this situation as a Gilbert-being-Gilbert situation. This situation right here, I take it very seriously,€ Jamison said.
Both the NBA league office and Wizards management released statements to the effect that they would wait until the criminal investigation is completed before taking any action.
But depending on the outcome of the investigations involving Arenas there are several issues the Wizards will have to deal with. Arenas could be facing a fine and or a suspension from the league, in addition to criminal charges surrounding gun possession in the District, which is a felony charge. The Wizards could also have the option of voiding the remainder of Arenas€ six-year, $111 million dollar contract.
Arenas is in the second year of his contract and is coming off of three knee surgeries. He has missed most of the past two seasons. So far this year, he has played in all 31 of the team€s games and is averaging 22.7 points.