Thursday, January 7, 2010

Locked and Loaded

Man, I didn't even want to write this column.

The world is abuzz about the recent decision by NBA star Gilbert Arenas to bring four, unloaded handguns to his locker room, and apparently use them in a practical joke with his teammate. Now some reports have Arenas and his teammate actually drawing guns on each other all cowboy-style, but given the source of that report, I'm not buying that story. I believe the story that has Arenas laying out four weapons with a note, and the situation escalating from there.

Problem is, the account about Arenas and his teammate having an actual duel has gained the most traction in the public sphere. No surprise there. A wild story about two young ,black millionaires with guns squaring off over gambling debts is always a sexy story, and for most people, quite believable. It feeds into all the stereotypes about the NBA and the players that make up the association.

Before I go any further let me make a few things clear. Bringing guns to work in violation of the rules of your job is stupid and wrong. If you do this, you should be punished for breaking the rules. Just wanted to make that clear.

This whole incident has dominated the sports news for several days and has managed to crossover into the mainstream media. And everyday people have opined about how ludicrous it is that someone would bring a gun to work, that they would pull a gun on a co-worker and that they would laugh and joke about it. Everybody whines about how these spoiled NBA players don't recognize how good they have it, and comment that this would never happen for someone else.

And that's total crap.

Everyday people get away with doing ridiculous stuff on the job. Whether it's making racist statements, sexually harassing co-workers, or even acts of violence, it happens. These people are not always always immediately fired. They are not always punished. To pretend otherwise is just cover for folks who want to lob grenades at NBA players because they don't like them and have beef.

Remember when a Washington Post editor punched out a colleague? I seem to remember quite a few media folks brushing that off as no big deal, and I remember that cat receiving his buyout and riding off into the sunset. And he was popping off at the mouth even after he did the punching.

I've heard stories of male workers making the most vile comments and come-ons to their female co-workers, and keeping their jobs. Hell, an aide to United States Senator James Webb tried to bring a loaded handgun into the Senate chambers in his briefcase and he's still working for the Senator and skated without a trial.

So spare me this sob story about how this is yet more proof that NBA players have it easy, that they live the good life, that they are arrogant pricks with no respect. I'm not saying these athletes aren't arrogant and moronic at times, but if arrogance and idiocy was fatal, the Earth would be a freaking a ghost town. NBA players are humans and have all the flaws and strengths of humans.

People want to crack down on Arenas because they either have a dread of guns, or they dislike NBA players in general. I refuse to consider any other options. A sensible person evaluating what Arenas did would not be calling for him to have a lifetime ban from the league, or arguing for a long jail sentence. That would be impossible for a sensible person who is aware of the legal precedent regarding issues like this, and has seriously considered Arenas' reasoning behind his actions.

But, I doubt if sensible people will win this battle. I've seen this movie too many times and I know how it ends. Sensible people will find it very hard to make themselves heard over the mob and those who direct the mob. I doubt if Arenas will escape the wrath of these combined forces. They have him in their sights, and they have way too much ammunition to miss with the kill shot.

Locked and loaded for real.



PPR_Scribe said...

I am perfectly fine with an employer deciding that they no longer want anything to do with an employee who thinks it is funny to bring guns (loaded, unloaded) into their place of business. I'd say that whether the employee worked for the post office or Best Buy or the NBA. The fact that not every employee would suffer such dire consequences, so this one should not either, does not logically follow.

Continuing to make excuses for these grown men's behavior (it was just a joke, dog fighting is part of southern culture, etc.) is not any more helpful than media and other vendettas against them.

Big Man said...

PPR Scribe

I didn't make excuses for anyone. I advocated a suspension and suggested that should have been the response as soon as Arenas admitted to violating league rules.
I had a problem with the justification given upon Stern's recent decision to suspend Arenas, as I explained in the blog.

However, the idea that it's ok for employers to selectively apply punishment is problematic. While companies may have this ability, that does not mean it's the right thing to do. If a company capriciously enforces its rules it opens itself up to charges of discrimination or other bias.

Shady_Grady said...

I think that the NBA and Wizards should wait and see what the facts really are (I've read reports that Crittenton actually chambered a round) and what happens legally before they decide for good what their moves are.

I don't have a problem with the indefinite suspension. I would have a problem with a lifetime ban and I think it would probably lose at arbitration BUT that's the risk people take when they do stupid things with guns.

As far as the fairness aspect that doesn't really apply here in the strictest sense, unless Arenas and Crittenton can cite other instances where people brought illegal weapons to the workplace to settle a dispute and the NBA was okay with that.

Of course a lot of the reactions are over the top because these are Black men but again they knew that going in. If you know that you won't be given the benefit of the doubt if you do something stupid/break the law..then don't do something stupid or break the law.

Thordaddy said...

This is what happens when liberalism creeps into sports. If you're a professional athlete and you're not conceal carry then you're rolling the dice with your life.

Arenas should have stated his right to self-protection, but also admitted his very poor judgement in brandishing his weapon without real cause.

Darth Whitey said...

Jim Rome was talking about this on his radio show with the great Jim Brown.

First and foremost, if the man wants to have a gun or twelve, that's fine, it's his right. Make it legal, register it, and learn how to use it.

However, this gun he had was unregistered, meaning illegal. That means he should go to jail over it. Ask Plexico Burress.

Brown said these knuckleheads are infected with this hip-hop culture. They want to be gangstas. When he pulls out a gun, he is preparing to shoot someone, and that idiot has no intention of doing so, he just wants to wave it around like 2Pac. He's not concerned about his personal safety.

If I brought a gun to work, registered or not, I'd be FIRED and prosecuted.

So why did you even write this? You're clearly defending him, saying that-- basically-- it's because he's black. Bollocks.

LisaMJ said...

Darth Whitey you have the facts wrong. His gun IS registerd in VA, he has a permit and it is legal. Several reputable sources, including a guest on an NPR show in DC who is the sports editor for the Nation stated that Arenas seems to have believed that recent changes to the DC handgun law made it legal for him to bring the gun across state lines into DC. That is not the case, it just allows DC residents to own handguns legal.

Also I am really really sick and tired of white folks accusing black folks of standing up for each other just out of color. One who the hell else will and two like you all don't do that shit all the damn time. No way you can tell me that white NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, Nascar and you name it other professional athletes don't do stupid crazy moronic stuff all the damn time. Same priviliged mentality but why is it that when they do ish it might get reported in the sports pages but isn't blown into a national stories where everyone and their cousin is talking about it, like people who think you can score a goal in basketball. Like when a white MLB player beat the CRAP out of his wife IN PUBLIC I barely heard anything about it, and the only reason I knew about it was b/c I'm from outside Philly, he played for Philly and my Mom follows sports. To me that is pretty big damn deal but barely a whisper about it, that is truly reprehensible behavior. Or a recent story about some white NFL player who allegedly raped some lady you heard a few whispers about it but not the full on media circus that occured when Kobe Bryant was accused of rape. I don't care what you or other white folks say, when it involves a black person, the reaction is always disproportionate and exagerated for any bad behavior. You can see it everywhere from how black criminals get sentenced versus white criminals, how in a country where blacks are 12% of the population and have pretty much remained at between that and 10% for over 30 years but are the majority of prisoners and disproporionately represented in the criminal justice system. Why b/c whites, especially first time offenders, get shorter, lighter sentences and probation at much higher rates. Shoot, I even saw it growing up in a mostly white community, I'd see the white boys pull some crap and get sent to the principal's office or the vice principal's office occasionally but not all the time, let a black kid put a toe out of line boom right there. I was the goodiest goody goody and got sent there once for talking in class. When I got the note in another class the teacher was SHOCKED as was the rest of the class. Different standards all the DAMN time. I am so sick of over priviliged white folks who can't see the forrest for the trees in the differences in behavior. Shoot I can see my privilege as a middle class, educated person so why can't so many of you see it? Damn

LisaMJ said...

Sorry for the rant. Anyway, yeah the dude was a jackass but the attention as always is blown out of proportion.

Deacon Blue said...

But LisaMJ...the disproportionate rates are because Black folks are inherently less civilized and more violent than Whites. Didn't you get the memo from the right wingers?

Oh, and we also shouldn't worry about the ice caps melting at alarming rates either...or the ozone layer...or chemicals in our groundwater...or violence against women...or...

cinque said...

@ Deacon Blue,
LMAO at "Black folks are inherently less civilized and more violent than Whites." Great post Big Man!! @ LisaMJ, could not agree more!!

PPR_Scribe said...

Big Man, if there have been other instances of NBA players bringing weapons to work in which players were not punished, I am not aware of them.

I'm sorry if I misread your post, but I interpreted comments like "NBA players are humans and have all the flaws and strengths of humans" as excusing this behavior. Perhaps it is understanding (not excusing) the behavior, in which case I agree. But just because we understand behavior does not mean that those demonstrating it should not suffer consequences.

For every example of people doing foolish things at work and getting away without consequences, anyone could point out cases of poor judgment that is punished.

I do not support the view that this player's behavior is a reflection on league players as a whole, or Black men generally as I have read elsewhere. I also think not enough context is given in these stories as to why some of these men feel they need to carry weapons in the first place. I think some of their concerns are quite real and it is not just about them trying to be "gangsta" or showing off.

But still, that does not mean that the employer has to support these concerns by allowing weapons at their place of business or not punishing employees who bring weapons to their place of business.

Darth Whitey said...

LisaMJ, I guess they were talking about the Burress incident as it relates to this one when talking about the gun being unregistered, my bad. You know how it is with talk radio, you catch bits and pieces as you're driving from place to place. But it sure sounded like Jim Brown was talking about this particular knucklehead.

Be that as it may, I don't care what race he is or what other athletes have done, I don't care, just look at the incident in a vacuum. Bringing a gun to work and waving it around? Not acceptable. Fired. No pay. Period. That would apply to you at your job and at mine. So what's the big deal?

Big Man said...


So you're going to just ignore the example I gave you about James Webb, which proves that bringing a gun to work isn't so cut and dried?

It's amazing how folks can predict the future when they want to, but get upset when other folks do the same. You're telling me you know exactly what would happen should any "regular" American bring a gun to work, with no proof, while you ignore the fact that someone brought a gun to what is supposed to be one of the most secure places in the country and skated. Just seems weird.

Anonymous said...

I blame White People. I do.

If they had never invented basketball this would never have happend

Anonymous said...


MODI said...

Big man, nice breakdown.

LisaMJ, the Phillies pitcher you are referring to is Brett Myers and he has had subsequent wild episodes that have gone unreported on. White athlete misbehavior -- no matter what the behavior -- will never make sustaining headlines. No matter what.

Darth Whitey said...

BM I don't know who this Myers is but if I did I'd be saying the same thing I am now, believe.

Tit for Tat said...

Purple, green, black or white. If it is true what they did with guns at work, then they are morons who should be fired and lose their contracts. This is the right of any business owner. Just because there has been abuse or neglect of other situations does not mean this
moron shouldnt be dealt with harshly. Totally misplaced rant.

If they had never invented basketball this would never have happend(anon)

That would be Canadian white person, sir.

ch555x said...

Good points Big Man and LisaMJ!

Anonymous said...

LisaMJ it's like you read my mind!! Then asshole number 3 comes along and says it's 'missplaced' well god FORBID we go there right pissant?!! If you are going to sit and judge mr. Arenas then she has JUST AS MUCH RIGHT to judge white players. ESPECIALLY since what she said it's 100 precent true and I'll add even more to the list. Patrick Kane who is a hockey player beat an elderly cabbie over a fare dispute. But because the Blackhakws won the Stanley Cup[yay!] the story was ignored another hockey player Patrick Roy is also a wife-beater. And football player Christian Peter was accused THREE times of rape but I very RARELY hear anything about that. And why is it on these blogs the MINUTE a white person's name is mentioned people like you get all defensive and bitch like?!! She can bring up whoever in the hell she wants like you apparently like to do when it's a black male. If you don't like tough s**t!

Raving Black Lunatic