Fri, Jan 08, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Gun-toting Arenas receives indefinite NBA suspension

AP , NEW YORK

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was suspended without pay by NBA commissioner David Stern on Wednesday for behavior that made him “not currently fit to take the court.”

A day after Arenas was photographed before a game in Philadelphia pointing his index fingers, as if they were guns, at his teammates, Stern warned Arenas that his conduct will “ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse.”

Arenas is under investigation by federal and local authorities after admitting to bringing guns to the locker room. Stern originally planned to wait to take action but he tired of Arenas’ behavior.

Though Arenas first apologized on Monday for his poor judgment and promised “to do better in the future,” he also joked on Twitter about the incident and the media firestorm it created.

“Although it is clear that the actions of Mr Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game,” Stern said in a statement.

“Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA,” he said.

With each game he misses, Arenas will lose about US$147,200 of the US$16.2 million he will earn this season in the second of a six-year, US$111 million contract.

“I feel very badly that my actions have caused the NBA to suspend me, but I understand why the league took this action,” Arenas said in a statement through his attorney. “I put the NBA in a negative light and let down my teammates and our fans. I am very sorry for doing that.”

Arenas added that he had called Stern to apologize.

“While I never intended any harm or disrespect to the NBA or anyone else, my gun possession at the Verizon Center and my attempts at humor showed terrible judgment,” he said. “I take full responsibility for my conduct.”

Arenas originally said he brought four guns to the Verizon Center because he wanted them out of his house after his daughter was born.

But two officials within the league have said that the incident stemmed from a dispute over gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room with teammate Javaris Crittenton. The New York Post, however, reported that the two teammates drew weapons on each other.

Arenas said in a statement on that he took unloaded guns from his locker in a “misguided effort to play a joke” on a teammate.

“Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong,” Arenas said. “I should not have brought the guns to DC in the first place, and I now realize that there’s no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns — even if unloaded.”

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