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zhuk 02-05-2010 05:35 AM

Guns & Athletes
 
Gun-toting athletes no barrel of laughs


http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201001/r498686_2624001.jpg



By Kim Landers

Updated Wed Feb 3, 2010 7:26am



The spectacle of multi-millionaire athletes wielding guns like thugs is no barrel of laughs.

But the image of a gun-toting professional athlete is what the NBA is fighting here in the United States after a two players for the Washington Wizards basketball team suddenly brandished weapons in the club's locker room during a dispute.

Imagine if cricketers Simon Katich and Michael Clarke had resorted to guns in their dressing room altercation over the singing of the Australian team's song? Instead it would seem Simon Katich merely grabbed Michael Clarke by the throat.


The situation in the Washington Wizards' locker room was by all accounts far more serious. The whole mess began with a feud over a gambling debt. Star Washington guard Gilbert Arenas, who likes to call himself "Agent Zero" after the number zero on his jersey, got into an argument with teammate Javaris Crittenton. The blow-up happened on the team jet. The two men considered a fist fight and then Crittenton threatened to shoot Arenas in the knee. Despite the aggro, nothing came of it.

But a few days later back in Washington, Arenas put four guns on the chair in front of Crittenton's locker and wrote "pick one" on a piece of paper.

There was an impressive array of firepower to choose from, including a .50 calibre gold plated semiautomatic Desert Eagle and a Smith and Wesson .500 magnum revolver. Crittenton must not have liked what he saw, because he whipped out his very own semiautomatic handgun. No shots were fired and no-one was hurt.

It took a few days for the media to get hold of this bizarre story and when I first read about it I thought, what is it about professional athletes and guns here in the US?



There's no shortage of these sorts of stories. Last year another NBA player was arrested for carrying two loaded handguns and a shotgun in a guitar case strapped to his motorbike. And a football player is serving two years in jail on weapons charges after shooting himself in the thigh.

There are strict gun laws in the US capital. Although that doesn't stop the frequent shootings. Years ago the Washington Wizards changed their name from the Bullets in a bid to cleanse the gun violence overtones. Imagine the Brisbane Bullets having to contemplate a name change because of violence on the streets?


But if a gun-toting basketball player isn't bad enough, it was Arenas' cavalier attitude that really landed him in hot water.

When news of the locker room stoush broke, Arenas tweeted "I wake up this morning and seen I was the new JOHN WAYNE... media is too funny."

And he didn't stop there. In an on court huddle, Gilbert Arenas decided to mimic a gunfighter, using his fingers as pretend pistols and firing at team mates. Some of them laughed and a photo of the gag appeared on the front page of the paper.

The NBA didn't think it was a laughing matter. It suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay, and slapped $10,000 fines on his laughing team mates. The NBA's Commissioner David Stern said Arenas was "not currently fit to take the court." In another Twitter message, the star guard said "I'm a goof ball."



There's no doubt Arenas is eccentric and crowd pleasing. He's got a history of playing practical jokes on his teammates. He has a series of tattoos on his legs that he calls Black Rushmore: images of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and President Barack Obama.

But now the Washington Wizards have gone to great lengths to erase all traces of him. They've taken down a giant banner of him from outside the stadium, edited Arenas out of the pre-game video and removed his jerseys from sale. One Washington Post sports columnist says the 28-year-old deserves punishment, but questions whether he's so evil that all the merchandise bearing his name has to be eliminated.

Arenas has pleaded guilty to one felony count of carrying a gun without a licence. He'll be sentenced on March 26 and could get anywhere from probation to a maximum of five years in jail, although as part of a plea deal prosecutors have agreed not to ask for more than six months in jail. Still a judge will have the final say.

Crittenton has been sentenced to one year of probation and fined more than $1,250 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanour gun possession charge. His lawyer says the 22-year-old took the unloaded handgun into the locker room because "he legitimately feared for his life."

Both players have been suspended without pay for the rest of the season. Arenas has four years remaining on his six year, $111 million contract. He now says that his gun possession and his attempts at humour showed terrible judgement.

I've read one estimate that three quarters of pro basketball and football players carry weapons as a sort of do-it-yourself protection. But there's no way of knowing if this is true. Let's hope the US isn't starting some sort of athletic arms race.

ABC The Drum - Gun-toting athletes no barrel of laughs

Quote:

There was an impressive array of firepower to choose from, including a .50 calibre gold plated semiautomatic Desert Eagle
Uh-oh :rolleyes:

gregs887 02-05-2010 02:50 PM

Good lord I hate reporters. Wtf was the point of that rant of an "article"?

spittinfire 02-05-2010 03:08 PM

These athletes are worthless human beings. Just because they can play a sport and have some money they think they can do whatever they want. Their careless firearms actions make the rest of the gun carrying world look like a bunch of idiots who can't help but shoot themselves in a night club. As far as I'm concerned they can go away, I wouldn't miss them.

robocop10mm 02-05-2010 03:59 PM

So? America has a "gun culture". Always has. Hopefully always will. We used privately owned guns to gain independence from the tyranical rule of King George III of England, Ireland and Hanover (Germany). We used guns to "Tame the West". We used guns to beat back a second war with England (1812). We used privately owned guns to wrest control of Texas from the Mexican dictator Santa Anna in 1836. Citizen-soldiers fought countless battles across the globe to protect America's interests and defeat despotic rulers giving freedom and independence to billions of people of all races.

Yes, we do own guns! I for one will not make excuses for this. I likewise will not make excuses for the juvenile behavior of spoiled professional athletes. Be it the misuse of guns, women, cars, alcohol, drugs or dogs, professional athletes represent the best and worst of American society.

wb_carpenter 02-05-2010 05:19 PM

I can completely understand an athlete or celeb owning or carrying a gun but what I cant understand is why some think they are above the law while carrying unlicensed. I highly doubt they are unable to obtain one in most states and they already have a ton of lawyers working for them. :confused:

zhuk 02-05-2010 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregs887 (Post 225071)
Good lord I hate reporters. Wtf was the point of that rant of an "article"?


Note the site: ABC.net.au It's the Govt-owned National broadcaster (wholly tax-payer funded too, I might add)

And that viewpoint would be indicative of pretty much every Australian media outlet...but that was actually restrained. The more 'tabloid' news sites would have milked the "OMG evil guns! America!" angle far more than this.


Quote:

Originally Posted by wb_carpenter (Post 225178)
I can completely understand an athlete or celeb owning or carrying a gun but what I cant understand is why some think they are above the law while carrying unlicensed. I highly doubt they are unable to obtain one in most states and they already have a ton of lawyers working for them. :confused:

This is actually the point I was alluding to. That these highly-paid & privileged athlethes seem to consider themselves above the law.

The article just (typically) took it that bit further from a sensationalist pov.

Gojubrian 02-05-2010 09:40 PM

Ofcourse they consider themselves above the law, wouldn't you? Everywhere they go there is a camera, crowds of people oogling over them, paid endorsements, they want for nothing, they have everything, people idolizing them daily,stalkers.................we treat them like gods!

Not for me, it's not like their Chuck Norris or something. :D

TXnorton 02-06-2010 09:58 AM

Unfortunately there are too many proffessional atheletes that are rich spoiled children and act accordingly. There are also many very fine pro atheletes (the Manning brothers spring to mind). However, the childish antics of the rotten few have spoiled the whole barrel for me. I refuse to be associated with pro sports anymore. I will not attend any pro sports events, I do not watch them on TV (with the exception of the Super Bowl - and only because my wife insists on watching this one game every year - maybe for the commercials).

flyingbrickracing 02-06-2010 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TXnorton (Post 225550)
Unfortunately there are too many proffessional atheletes that are rich spoiled children and act accordingly. There are also many very fine pro atheletes (the Manning brothers spring to mind). However, the childish antics of the rotten few have spoiled the whole barrel for me. I refuse to be associated with pro sports anymore. I will not attend any pro sports events, I do not watch them on TV (with the exception of the Super Bowl - and only because my wife insists on watching this one game every year - maybe for the commercials).

+1 on that,I'll watch a hockey game once in a while and I take the family to watch ny nephew play baseball (he's 12) but thats about it.

I don't watch Nascar anymore either (well mabye a little) since they regulated the cars all be the same"to make it fair".The last time I watched a whole season I was a fan of Bill Elliot and the new Ford "aero" T-bird.


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