Thursday, January 28, 2010


An incident that embarrassed the Washington Wizards franchise and disgraced two of its players moved closer to resolution on Wednesday, when NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton without pay for the remainder of the season after they displayed handguns during a locker room dispute last month. Stern reached his decision after an hour-long meeting with Arenas at the NBA offices in New York. He later released a statement that said guns in an NBA workplace “would not be tolerated.”

Arenas learned of his fate during the meeting and asked the National Basketball Players Association not to challenge Stern’s decision.

Arenas’s criminal attorney, Ken Wainstein, accompanied him with Stern on Wednesday and released a statement that read: “Mr. Arenas recognizes that his actions were a serious violation of the law and league rules and were detrimental to the NBA and its reputation. He accepts full responsibility for what he did, and takes no issue with the length of the suspension or the process that led to the Commissioner’s decision. It is Mr. Arenas’ hope that this punishment will serve an important purpose, as a strong reminder of the responsibility that he and all NBA players have to set the right example with their conduct on and off the court.”

According to a statement released by the players’ union, Crittenton, who met with Stern on Tuesday, has not reached a decision on whether he would file an appeal regarding the severity of the suspension. Stern said both players expressed remorse and were contrite during their meetings; “nevertheless, there is no justification for their conduct.”

Two league sources said that Stern was contemplating suspending Arenas for 82 games but elected for remainder of the season after talking with Billy Hunter, the union’s executive director. In a conference call with reporters, Stern said that he hopes the length of the suspensions sends a clear message to players and “if there is any doubt with our players in the future, we will be dealing with this in an even more severe way.”


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