September 23, 2010
The Gilbert Arenas(notes) guns-in-the-locker-room fiasco loomed over the Washington Wizards' disastrous 2009-10 season like those giant alien spaceships in the documentary film "Independence Day." The team was bad before then, no doubt about it, but after that happened the team's season went from unfortunate to depressing. Since then, we've all been curious about what really happened in the locker room, and even why it happened. There's been a lot of speculation and some facts have even leaked, and even though legal documents have been released containing a very well-informed version of the event, no one knows exactly what happened except for the people who were there.
Apparently, it's going to stay that way as David Stern has instituted a gag order on the Wizards' shooting guard, hoping to prevent him from talking about the incident. From the Washington Post's Michael Lee:
NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke with Arenas on Tuesday to express his excitement about having Arenas back in the league after the lengthy banishment, and he told Arenas he can talk about anything going forward - except the infamous dispute last December involving guns. Stern later called Wizards owner Ted Leonsis to inform him public comments from the organization about the situation are also off limits. Stern wants Arenas and the Wizards to put it all behind them.
"It's time to move on, rather than obsess about the past," Stern said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "It's just that it's been discussed, and discussed, and discussed. It's been written about, and written about, and written about on each occasion - his release, his sentencing, my ruling or what have you - and at some point, it's time to move on. I think he's entitled to do that. And I'm supportive of him. We're lucky he's well and we like the way he's worked with various groups over the summer. And we think it's time. Millions and millions of dollars later, and a new season later, I think it's time to move on. And that's what I told him."
If Gilbert Arenas has learned anything from this whole situation — besides, hopefully, to not taunt your teammates with guns in the locker room — it's probably that you shouldn't cross David Stern. And if he has, then I'd surmise we're not getting a peep out of Gil about the guns, the finger guns and probably not even "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style," just to be safe. What he did was dumb, but Gilbert isn't, so he'll keep his mouth shut.
This is for the best. The Wizards are hardly the same team they were last year. They've got a bunch of new talent and Adam Morrison(notes), they've got a new owner, and while Gil is still the best player on the team, he's no longer the face of the franchise. It's best for everybody if the team puts this whole thing to sleep and just plays basketball. Oh, they should also not bring firearms into a small, confined space but that goes without saying. Just a reminder, really.
Is this the end of the story? Probably not. The Wizards' media day is just around the corner, and while Arenas won't be talking about the incident, he'll surely be asked about it. Here's hoping he keeps his lips zipped, lest his wallet get a few thousand dollars lighter.