Apparently, tweeting is not good enough for apologies. Which is why suspended Wizards guard
Arenas, in full rescue-the-reputation mode following his guilty plea for gun possession in the Wizards' locker room and his subsequent 50-game suspension by the NBA, "wrote" his
All of which I find breathtakingly disingenuous.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Arenas does not ultimately deserve forgiveness, or that he is not entitled to right his many wrongs. We are a forgiving society, for the most part, and when people are genuinely sorry, it is incumbent upon the rest of us to give that person another chance. (Not necessarily seven or eight chances, but at least a second chance.)
But is Arenas really sorry? Or is he sorry that he was nabbed and got his hand severely slapped -- to the tune of about $7.3 million in lost salary -- by
Why does this particular story, in its current format, offend me? Let me count the ways.
First of all, when the
Which brings me to my next point: Everything about Arenas' story reeks of crisis public relations. I can picture a cavalcade of p.r. executives sitting in their high-backed leather chairs around a well-appointed conference table, writing their ideas in multiple colors of magic marker on a white board. "OK, gang, let's figure out how we can rescue Mr. Arenas from the depths of hell."
"Well, sir, why don't we go traditional? Align him with needy children and sympathetic widows."
"Done. Give yourself a raise."
I admit, that is extremely cynical. And, to his credit, Arenas actually has a history of being involved with children and advancing their causes. But I can't help but be skeptical when I see these forgiveness tours.
All aboard. Next stop:
Though you no longer can sign on to Arenas' Twitter account, and you no longer can purchase an Arenas jersey at the NBA Store, surprisingly you can still find Arenas'
So I spent some time reading through his blog posts, including
Here is another one from 2007 that discusses rumors of his being traded to the Lakers for
Now, Arenas has been a prolific blogger and tweeter, and perhaps his writing has dramatically improved over the years. But I find it hard to believe that his style has gone from "NOT" to what was printed in
Of course, Arenas is now getting guidance from a p.r. firm, not just winging it on the Internet. But if you are going to ask for forgiveness, then be sincere and speak from the heart. Don't have somebody else craft an apology for you. The very thing that Arenas took pride in was that he was his own person; that he did not succumb to The Man. In a way, that's what I admired about him, his refusal to conform.
Now that he has, I wonder a few things. He most likely is not going to play for the Wizards again. Too much has happened. There are too many raw, irreversible emotions on both sides. Does that mean, then, that this letter is hollow, and that the kids he says he so cherishes working with will be quickly forgotten and abandoned if and when he plays for another team? At the very least, if he is going to use them to rehabilitate his reputation, he owes them continued support regardless of his location.
Furthermore, what does this mean for his future as an NBA player? Because clearly he has been humbled by the powerful Stern. Clearly he has decided to bow his head and ask for forgiveness. Is one negotiated prerequisite for his return that he no longer be the defiant, self-proclaimed "goofball" that he loves being, that makes him original?
Has his current predicament eviscerated him, and if so, does that mean he will never again be the same player who once dropped 60 points on the Lakers?
In short, if he can't be Gilbert Arenas any longer, can he still be Agent Zero?