New twist in Wizards gun incident
In terms of the criminal prosecution, the defense attorney quoted in that story is probably correct in that, unless there's an actual gun, it's going to be difficult to pursue charges against him just based on second-hand accounts or rumors. However, I think the NBA could take action. The NBA doesn't have to wait and take the same legal safeguard that law enforcement authorities do.
The other issue here is what Crittenton and Arenas have told police, because their stories better match up. First off, it's a crime to knowingly lie to law enforcement authorities. And second, if all these reports are true, you wonder if they're in sort of a prisoner's dilemma. Initially, it seemed they both had an interest in keeping the story straight, but now that it's gotten worse, maybe their interests have changed and they're maybe saying different things.
I think the NBA will view the differing accounts negatively. The fact that their stories don't appear to be straight, commissioner
If he feels the Wizards haven't been forthcoming, or if they knew players brought guns into the locker room and they didn't take action, then yes, he could punish them. As a franchise, the Wizards have a fiduciary duty to the league as a whole, and if Stern feels the team hasn't lived up to it, Stern could punish them with a fine, most likely. I guess he could take away draft picks, but that's usually reserved for maneuvers that are tied to the salary cap, like with the
This is going to increase Stern's desire to collectively bargain changes in terms of player behavior. More specifically, I think the league is going to look at using investigatory devices to monitor players, such as checking their lockers. Years ago, the commissioner talked about having some kind of security group to follow players around, and many people thought that was sort of Big Brother-esque. But the key here, based on a legal standpoint, is if the commissioner pursues these policies through collective bargaining with the players' association and the association signs off on those, then the players have to abide by them. Now, if the commissioner unilaterally imposes the changes, then the players' association will potentially object. The key is that Stern gets consent from the union to get more oversight on the players.
But I also think Stern is going to look at the whole player-gambling phenomenon -- the video games, the card games. It wouldn't surprise me if the commissioner put an end to gambling over card games and the like since it appears gambling over cards precipitated the gun issue.
Yes. The argument by the players' association in defending any player is that whatever treatment he gets in a specific instance could become precedent-setting and impact other players in the future. In a way, the argument is that they're not just fighting for him; they're fighting for all players. And that's consistent with their fiduciary duties to all players.
The other thing they may want to focus on is that the whole idea of "innocent until proven guilty" remains in sight. They don't want the commissioner taking action until after the criminal investigation, even if the early signs look negative for a player.
They could. Stern could conclude that they encouraged a lighthearted perspective on a very serious matter. Practically, it's difficult for the players in that situation to be viewed as culprits, but joking around with guns is such a serious manner, particularly now if the guns are actually loaded. Going back to what the players are telling police, what they're telling the NBA is important too. If Stern feels like the players are either lying or simply omitting facts, he will come down very hard on them. It will also make it more difficult for the players to appeal any kind of suspension, and it will give the Wizards' better ground to terminate a contract. Even though that may be hard to do, there is Clause 16 of the
From the D.C. police's perspective, Arenas still commits a crime by having a gun -- loaded or unloaded. Of course, it's worse, legally, if it is loaded, but he's still in trouble just for having the gun. From the story perspective, if it is true, it looks like Crittenton behaved worse by having a loaded gun, so I guess from that lens, what Arenas did may be seen as not as bad. But it's a still a gun. And Arenas had four of them.
I don't think it's going to help him with commissioner Stern; I think Stern will focus on the gun aspect. But for Crittenton, if this is true, this could end his NBA career.
There's always the prospect that an assault took place, from a criminal aspect. If one player threatened another with a loaded gun -- in D.C., assault includes "threatening another in a menacing matter" -- there's a real chance that an assault took place. I don't know if the police will pursue that, but one criminal aspect in this case beyond gun possession is assault.
Going back to what the Wizards' responsibility is, it'll be interesting to see which players saw what happened. As the NBA conducts its investigation, it will meet with player witnesses, and players' agents will have to make sure their clients aren't implicated in this situation. But at the same time, the players have to be careful so that they don't say things that bring them into the story. They don't want to get suspended. So there's an incentive for the players in that, whatever they saw, is viewed as something they saw from afar, because this could grow beyond Crittenton and Arenas. It's a major concern for the Wizards, and for Stern.
Another angle is how all this will affect the endorsement potential of Gilbert Arenas. Will he ever be able to get endorsement deals again? What was previously seen as charisma and gregariousness is now seen as something potentially criminal. And I wonder if his endorsement potential is, if not obliterated, badly damaged.