Posted by: Kingsguru21 | January 8, 2010

The point where I talk about the Gilbert Arenas gun controversy

ED NOTE from Pookey: I know Gilbert Arenas has been suspended. So if you don’t want to read this, by all means. I had most of this written on Monday.

It’s 2020, and a broken down old black man resembling a famous basketball player is standing at the entrance of Cirque du Soleil handing out fliers, and coupons, for the days attraction at the recent stop on the Cirque tour. Ironically this place is Fairfax, Virginia.

Reading this David Aldridge article, and Bullets Forever yesterday among other places, you get the feeling that pretty much everyone involved would just love for this whole fucking shebang of a cockblocking boring controversy to get the fuck gone and stay that way. Or something like that.

I do understand on this point of course. At what point do you contribute to the degeneracy you complain about in writing about something. It’s a vicious cycle, and eventually you either contribute to the news cycle of nonsense, or you simply don’t.

Then I read Tom Ziller’s fantastic piece at Fanhouse, and it pretty much hits the point spot on. How much of a story is this if two white guys are pulling guns on each other? But let’s back it up.

If you read Ziller’s piece (and I have several times now), the first guy says “don’t bring race into it”. Umm, what? Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton are both black. The NBA, as TZ noted, is 76% black. How does that exactly qualify as bringing race into it? RACE IS ALWAYS PART OF IT. It’s in everything, not to mention everywhere you are in the US, you do as an American citizen. It isn’t going anywhere. The US census denotes what “race” you are. You constantly are asked what race you are when you apply for anything remotely tied to the government as school, taxes, or anything else. Race is a part of EVERYTHING.

Not only that, TZ said this:

Of course, basic coverage of this incident isn’t implicitly racist — we have covered the hell out of the story here on NBA FanHouse, primarily because it matters in the grand scheme of basketball.

Then this same fellow said this:

The NBA culture promotes bad behavior in all races. That’s what needs to change. Don’t bring race into it, you are merely saying that because a majority of the league is a certain color, they have a free pass for bad behavior!

Of course, in TZ’s piece he said this:

That’s why Arenas storing guns in his locker brings out the most rabid denouncers. Like Abbott, I have no interest in defending Arenas for breaking team, league and most likely District of Columbia rules by keeping firearms in his locker, nor do I understand why the guard would ever bring those weapons out among teammates, in a serious disagreement or amid horseplay. “Bad judgment” is one hell of an understatement.

One of my favorite things about TZ, other than we both root for the same team, and have long shared our own views on the Kings separately, is how deliberative he can become to a subject. Rarely does he respond in kind to people that he knows, without a doubt no less, are flat out wrong. That guy who said TZ was injecting race into the issue was of course doing that very thing himself.

Now, any of this is child’s play. I suspect my readers (most of them hailing from that fine land known as StR) already know this too well. Unlike that reader, I expect my readers (as TZ does I’m sure) to get the point. I do this out of respect for those taking the time to read; I’m sure TZ operates under a similar modus operandi too. Of course, I’m sure that’s too complicated for those individuals who are saying that the NBA is going to be too lax on Arenas. That, too, is missing the point. Everything I’ve seen speculated about this incident includes Arenas’ contract being voided and potential suspension for the rest of the season. Additionally, this isn’t helping Javaris Crittenton’s career as he didn’t have a strong hold on his roster spot for the Wizards to begin with. Regardless of Crittenton’s culpability in this case, it’s not wise that your defense is ” Well the guy didn’t pay me after I was gambling with him, and when I confronted him he pulled a gun and I pulled mine out.”

For all parties involved with the Wizards dispute, this sucks. The DC and Federal Police (except the glory hounds who see this as a case they can make their name off of) hate it. The Wizards franchise and players hate it. Wizards fans hate any kind of news of this sort.

Yet, the story won’t die with some, and eventually will be used as an example of how unruly these ungrateful rich niggers are. Sad as that statement is; it’s nonetheless true. Of course those words won’t be used, but it will look remarkably similar to that statement. Insert nigger for thug, and there you go.

Gilbert Arenas isn’t a thug. Despite one minor misdemeanor gun convinction in California (or I’m assuming it was in California–Arenas was playing with the Warriors at the time and is from LA), Arenas doesn’t have a criminal record otherwise. He’s just a loony nut who happens to own registered guns regardless of whether he was trying to keep them from his children. Really why Arenas owns a registered firearm is the real question here. Not that he broke a DC or Federal Law by bringing them to the Verizon Center.

None of this mentions the real issue that is the purchase of these handguns to begin with. The US has a real problem with concealed weapons. Yet, DC is the penultimate example of how profitable the international arms trade is. I won’t bother to search for the exact number, but I’d be shocked if the arms trade the Pentagon embarks on end up bringing net worth of less than a trillion dollars annually. 1,000,000,000,000 in otherwords. The recent Arenas contract was supposedly around 111 million for 6 seasons.

Arenas, or the international arms trade?

But it’s quite a bit deeper than that. It’s completely societal, even if money is the root of this particular evil; it’s still a societal issue. Sad as that statement may be, it’s still an issue we haven’t solved as a country yet. Gilbert Arenas isn’t the appropriate forum for that particular issue, but, hell, Muhammad Ali wasn’t the appropriate guy to stand up to the US government in terms of not going to the Vietnam War either.
Was Jackie Robinson the right guy to be one of the most visible symbol’s of integration in the US by playing 1st Base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on that fateful April day in 1947? Again, probably not. But he did it.

Gilbert Arenas is not a history maker. He isn’t the only player in the NBA, or sports, to own a firearm. Hardly a surprise really, and yet it should be. There is a deeper problem than the gun love we have in this country (there is no way in hell the NRA would exist if there wasn’t a deep fanatical love for gun ownership in the US–Canadians own a shit ton of rifles and do not have the NRA–Uh whoops).

This country has problems. We have problems. Everyone you know has a problem (or a trillion) to deal with on a daily basis. Even if that problem is wiping their ass with too much toilet paper, it’s still a problem. While the problem may not cause discomfort today, or tomorrow even, perhaps there will be a day where there isn’t a tree to cut down so you could wipe your ass with enough TP. The alternative, not wiping your ass, is unsanitary and will cause major health problems. So we wipe our ass.

Just like wiping our ass has a solution (regardless of whether the solutions in the future remain feasible or not), the Gilbert Arenas issue has a solution too.

I gotta admit I had a long running opinion on the whole ordeal with Erin Andrews and the peeper “issue”. I don’t blame her for being scared. I don’t blame other women for feeling fear either. I would imagine for every woman (something I can never claim to have been) that is a major issue that plays out every day. The security over one’s body is a daily issue that has played out for many women over many generations, I imagine, than it certainly is scary that Erin Andrews was violated that way. But, really, was Andrews violated because she was a woman, a good looking woman (can’t say that I dig her–not really into blondes) at that, or because she was a celebrity? It was a bit of both, and unless the individual who did such an act to her is caught and tested for what his motives were, than I suspect we’ll never know. (I’m aware now that the peeper was caught. But the last sentence stands. Keep in mind that I wasn’t aware that the issue had been resolved. And I wrote most of this on Monday.)

The issue of sex, and how we appropriately handle it, is not an issue that usually is well received in the US. Too many people (especially on the religious right) have too much riding in their daily lives to allow sex to be governed by individuals and their personal attitudes toward it. Hence, why there is so much anger and dis-information against “gay marriage”. If there wasn’t so much fear there would be no interest in denying individuals a legal right to protect themselves that straight counterparts have enjoyed for several centuries now. (I’m not sure if married people had those rights before the 18th century to be honest.) The real issue, of course, is not that gay people are being denied to rights, but that citizens of the US are not being denied rights they should have access from birth to: the right to be treated fairly and in just cause. Of course, that isn’t the way it ever plays out.

Bringing this back to Andrews, though, is that even though she was violated in some way (I would gather a 100% emotionally given that she wasn’t touched), it’s a bit ironic that partly what makes her so popular is how good looking she is. What she was violated with is the very thing that made her career and celebrity. Quite frankly, whoever did that (and I don’t know if the person was caught or not), it smelled more of revenge than a chronic mal-adjusted view toward viewing women appropriately. (As it turned out, the peeper was out for money. I’m shocked I tell you.)

Likewise, Gilbert Arenas is not a thug or a criminal. To be a thug or a criminal, he would literally would have to be a thug or a criminal. If one minor gun conviction makes a criminal, there are a lot of redneck’s in Texas who qualify.

But, is Erin Andrews, and whatever parallels to Arenas you could find (more than a few I imagine), the real story here? Was she the real story in her own moment of crisis?

The point, of course, is that at what point do we make something better? For instance the issue with Andrews was something I wrote far more extensively over the summer. I didn’t publish it then because I didn’t want to contribute to the mass deliquency that was the general opinion of what happened with regards to Erin Andrews. It was enough for me, personally, to have my opinion, and having written it out. No good would have come of it otherwise. First, I’m a white male, and since we aren’t the most popular human subset these days, it would not have worked well regardless of my intentions are. Despite what people say, perception matters and the perception of my opinion on the subject would have been lost.

That’s exactly why I’ve wasted 2000 words (up to this point) dancing around the whole issue with Gilbert Arenas, and everything else. Because the truth, no matter how much we say that we are interested in it, is not something an unhealthy portion want to hear. What Gilbert Arenas did was stupid, but, really, was it criminal or thuggish? Did he beat up Javaris Crittenton physically? (Nevermind that the stereotype with thuggery usually includes intimidation of other races, and in the particular stereotype with black thugs is that they will prey on any vulnerable group. Especially when they are doing so anonymously.) If that’s the case, isn’t Crittenton at least a criminal for pulling a gun on himself? And since when do Americans give a shit about criminals killing other criminals? (If this was the case, although I’ll admit I enjoy the show (no reason not to actually), Dexter would not be in every video store rental joint across the US and consistently rented.)

So really, do we actually know what the problem here is? Other than Gilbert Arenas is a kooky stupid fool who did something SOOOOOOO profoundly stupid that it will drastically alter his life for worse. Even if Gil skates off with reduced charges, doesn’t have his contract voided, is only suspended for the rest of the season by the NBA, and eventually goes onto a new team (how funny would it be that Gil got traded to the Knicks?), what will happen of this? Some people will only know Gilbert Arenas the gun puller guy. They won’t know who Javaris Crittenton is (nevermind that he’s, like, just as crucial to this story), and they won’t care that Wizards officials from Abe Pollin’s son, Ted Leonsis, scores of Wizards fans who went to the VC and watched the Wiz on TV because of Agent Zero, will all be crushed because of how practically impossible it is to shed a story such as this. This will drag after the ‘Zards forever. Maybe they get lucky and get an incredible pick in the draft that makes everyone forget. (John Wall anyone?) Knowing the Wizards luck with the lottery, it’s not very likely.

This story affects the entire franchise for years with Free Agents, and a potential top flight rookie like John Wall. Would Wall want to come to the Wizards if he knew that Gilbert Arenas was still on the team?

What’s even funnier is the people who will read this. (Other than the rare few who did read this blog for the main source of content which is, and as long as I’m writing it, a Kings blog.) It’s amazing how many times I see it when I look at my miniscule stat numbers to see “insert player here” + nigger typed in the search. And, because I’ve typed a few sarcastic pieces in how some (like the dope Jay Mariotti) viewed a few controversial incidents regarding Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley over the summer, naturally that will come up in searches. Of course those people probably leave in disappointment that I’m not only being sarcastic about the whole situation and it’s reporting; I’m also making fun of this very ideal. (I must admit, it is way too much fun to crap on somebody’s ideal. Especially if that ideal is locked up in a closeted prejudice.)

No matter how we wish to argue, we will lose any argument that doesn’t start with the core of the problem. So really now, is it my problem that Gilbert Arenas pointed a gun at Javaris Crittenton? No, that seems to be Javaris’ problem. Likewise, whose problem is that Javaris Crittenton pointed another weapon back at Gilbert Arenas? Well, naturally, Gilbert Arenas.

Yet, everyone has an opinion. So, what’s my opinion?

I don’t care about Gilbert Arenas having a gun anymore than I care that Joe Schmoe has a gun. Guns are useful things in certain context, sure, but as a basketball player to keep someone from harming you? You probably need to make better life choices before you need to buy a gun if safety is the main issue.

Futhermore, by delving into this topic, I’ve instantly made this whole thing worse. By having an opinion, as an outsider no less, of a topic that really, other than the basketball implications which are far different than the “thug” or “criminal” label that is being tossed about, makes no difference on my life whatsoever. It’s like Bill Clinton getting a blow job from Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. I don’t care; it wasn’t my dick she was sucking on. (Thank God.) Either way, there are many things that don’t really effect my life but I have to hear about it. Barack Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize for instance. (Great example actually.)

And now I’ve brought it all into it. Politics, Religion, Black People, White people, the rainbow, skittles and Yogi Bear. Shit, I might as well bring in Sonny Bono and Cher and have them sing ” I got you babe”. It would be far more informative than having a group of people tell me how dare you use a racial epithet, or accuse us (as in me myself & I–multiple personalities are a bitch you know) of racism. Do yourselves a favor: Save your outrage on somebody who gives a shit.

That is, naturally, the essence of Gilbert Arenas. He’s a clown, and he proves it. He does stupid shit to make people laugh, and he does it to entertain them. Sure, his idea of clowning around is laying out 3 pistols and telling Javaris Crittenton to take one. That’s funny to him. Who are we to judge? I mean we are a perfect nation. We commit no sins, no wars, no grievances, no injustice, no nothings against anyone. We’re perfect individuals who expect our athletes to be both Adonis and Rebecca from Sunnybrook farm. Warriors don’t come from battle and live quiet lives wearing cardigan sweaters. Some do, but some also go home and beat on their wives after the game/battle/moment of truth/whatever.

Let’s really think about this. Gilbert Arenas pointing an unloaded gun at Javaris Crittenton. The most dangerous thing that happened in that exchange was Crittenton throwing the gun wherever he threw it in the locker room. And Crittenton was the guy who initially had the gun pointed at him!

As the saying goes: Where is the justice and where is the thief? If you ask me, the thief is the people who are calling Gilbert Arenas a thug, and Gilbert Arenas himself for doing something so profound. (A close second is Crittenton himself.) The justice is the Wizards fans who will rebound from this and hopefully (one day yonder) get a franchise where players don’t point unloaded weapons at each other as jokes.

What’s really sad about this whole thing? I spent 3000 words (so far) on something that I know will make it worse. Gotta love self defeatism! (Not to mention circle jerks.)

So, to finish this whole load of bullshit crap and top it off to it’s finest form (or highest possible debauchery–at this point I thnk it’s the same thing), if you’re more confused about what the solution to the problem is before you started, I’m with you. This problem of what Gilbert Arenas has some answers. As I mentioned briefly, there is language in Arenas’ contract that if Arenas is found guilty of a felony the Wizards have the right to release Agent Zero from his contract. There is also a potential suspension from the NBA which could be the entire season. (Also, I wonder if that suspension can happen in conjunction with any potential contract termination.)

Really, though, that doesn’t change what happened. Gil gambling on the plane, losing 25 G’s to a fellow teammate, not paying, and then pointing an unloaded gun. Then, in response. that teammate points a weapon back at Gil. The only real solution is the only solution I could have thought to begin with: Make handguns illegal. (And gambling.) How many people who are calling Gilbert Arenas irresponsible really want handguns to be illegal? Furthermore, my question then becomes what would have happened if those guns weren’t available? Would it have happened? And, the answer is: Not a friggin clue. Of course we have no way of knowing that unless we could alter time. If we could do that, I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be the capacity to drop an atomic bomb on somebody else in the world. Then again, man is pretty violent.

I have violent thoughts. (Shocking I know.) Also, I’m sure every reader who reads this has violent thoughts. But, I don’t act on these thoughts for a simple reason: I don’t want to deal with the consequences. However, I’m not an athlete who has incredible abilities. There is the real conundrum that faces athletes, and the fans of these athletes. How do these guys go from living superheroes to human beings? How do they decompress? I can’t imagine all of them going to shooting ranges with their .45 and go at it. Everyone blows off steam. I also can’t blame Gilbert Arenas for thinking he’s above the law. At some point, he is on the basketball court. At some point, he’s paid to be EXACTLY that.

The funny thing is that Gill said he was trying to protect his children from the guns he himself had bought. Which is silly, from my angle, to start with. Are you going to even try to tell me that Gilbert Arenas’ children are so advanced that they can pick a lock (presuming Arenas has his guns locked up at home) of a cabinet and play with his weapons?

I smell bullshit, and PR cover up. Of course, that’s really what will end up getting Gil in trouble in the first place. The PR cover-up as much of anything. Which of course may actually be what investigators are trying to prove in the first place.

IF you haven’t noticed, I could continue for much longer, but I won’t. I’ll stop it here. If we expect the Gilbert Arenas story to go away, we can either ignore it and let those who are in the position to handle it handle it. Or, we can fuss around and call Gilbert Arenas a mindless thug who has no interest in others.

It’s your choice, America. IT’S YOUR CHOICE!

But up to a point, that’s only partly the point. It’s amazing how people who would have no interest in reporting non-basketball news (like a Tom Ziller or David Aldridge) and yet they get sucked up in such a story because their jobs (at Fanhouse/NBA.com) require it so. At the end of the day, and 4000 words later it should be an end of the day, this story is about the human side of stupidity that requires people to have an opinion of something they are probably, in all reality, very ignorant towards. Even better, still, there are people who won’t even pay attention and this will be a small story compared to the Tiger Woods’ melodrama. Because as popular as it is to complain the NBA is a league of thugs because it’s players are 70% black, it’s even more fun more Americans today to wonder how Tiger Woods, the corporate pimp, will lose his money and endorsements. For some sad sick reason, too many Americans care that all these things happen.

In the meantime, people such as TZ and Aldridge probably don’t care because they would rather report good stories. But, both will tell you that isn’t realistic. In the real world we have positive and negative stories that greatly impact us. For some reason, the positive stories have less traction for most. With negativity comes room for an opinion, I suspect, that leaves us otherwise to ponder would could have been. With what we perceive as positive, or perhaps perfection if we’re talking about the sports world, perhaps that isn’t as fun to maintain a conversation when people have different opinions. It’s hard to carry on a conversation with people who disagree. (Just ask the folks in my Poly Sci class. A portion of the people, such as me, talk consistently in class. Others feel slighted because they don’t scream as loud as other people. Others, still, prefer to remain silent and in the background. By the end of the quarter, I’ll bet little has changed.)

Here’s what I find ultimately sad about the NBA (or a public entity like the NBA). Despite the numerous reasonable good stories that surround the NBA on any given season (this season no exception), there is always that one or two moment every year where a season is characterized by a moment like Gilbert Arenas bringing guns into the locker room. The Detroit Brawl, the 1st Michael Jordan retirement to name 2 in my lifetime that hung over everything. It didn’t matter that the Bulls were still good enough to make the 2nd round without Michael Jordan, they still weren’t the Bulls with Michael Jordan. And, no matter what basketball junkies felt, or Bulls fans since we’re on that topic, it didn’t matter because Jordan wasn’t there. Jordan was what many who watched the Bulls in that era cared about really. It wasn’t the Bulls, or the fact that they were insanely talented at a team when the league had less talent coming into the league at the time the Bulls 2nd 3 peat came around, or anything else. All that mattered was Michael Jordan was playing, and that MICHAEL JORDAN was winning championships.

This isn’t news, or anything most fans/pundits don’t already know. Or, hopefully not anyway. What’s sad is that some idiot somewhere will say,” Well, me, 3 other guys and Michael Jordan could have won a NBA championship.” Umm, no.

So, instead, I turn this back to the media coverage. I’m praying for the day (knowing it will never come) that a national media outlet can not report the Gilbert Arenas story, and not be CRITICIZED for it. That day will never come, though, because every national media outlet needs people to hit on their stories, read their TV ads, and everything else. As far as they are concerned, you can’t be in the media business and survive without crud stories like the Gilbert Arenas gun story. That’s the culture we live in (sadly).

Strangely enough, even if we did hold our national media to a higher standard, it wouldn’t matter anyway. Because the national media wags who run the joint would simply say: “This is what people want.” Real news isn’t that interesting to a good many people; if that was the case most American news outlets would be bankrupt right now.

So, we the people, are left to roll our eyes at the sycophantic nonsense that the machine has coughed up. Is Gilbert Arenas not accountable? Of course he is. Nobody forced Gil to buy those guns let alone bring them to the VC. (Oh wait, had this argument already.) But here’s the overall point: Gilbert Arenas is a fruitloop too. Since when do crazy people define a culture? But Gilbert Arenas doesn’t paint (or doesn’t yet), and I don’t think he’s had an affair with young men (yet). So maybe he won’t do numerous influential works.

In order to wrap this up, I’ll leave it at this. In order for stories like Arenas to go away, people will have to stop being fascinated by the whole spectacle. What likelihood do you think that will take? It’s sad and unfortunate, but Gilbert Arenas’ life is a circus’ show. Personally, I’d just rather just go buy a ticket to Cirque-du-Soleil. At least you won’t see some loopy asshole play poor man’s Russian Roulette.

Ladies and Gentleman step right up, watch as Agent Zero points an unloaded gun and attempts to shoot you! No really people, it’s a great trick! Please? Watch?

Ladies and Gentleman please welcome our newest attraction, Dumbo back from a century old hiatus. Give it up…….

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