Gilbert Arenas, who on Thursday was charged with a firearm felony, is expected to plead guilty on Friday, which will soften the sentence he receives.
But in the eyes of the Washington Wizards, Arenas apparently feels as though the organization has already deemed him unfit to wear their uniform again and he’s upset with they way they handled the situation.
A person close to Arenas said Thursday that Arenas believes President Ernie Grunfeld and the Wizards management failed to support him following his locker room confrontation on Dec. 21 with teammate Javaris Crittenton. The two players were feuding over a gambling debt stemming from a card game on a team flight back to Washington from Phoenix two days earlier. Arenas, the person close to the player said, has told NBA investigators that his flippant behavior following the incident, including the pantomiming of pistols before a game that led to an indefinite suspension from NBA Commissioner David Stern, was because he felt the Wizards organization had turned its back on him. “If your own franchise, the people you considered family, weren’t there for you when you needed them most, would you want to play for them and be around them anymore?” said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Arenas “was wrong for bringing guns into the locker room, and it’s going to mean pleading guilty to a felony. It’s serious business. But the way this came out and how Ernie and the organization handled the facts makes you wonder if he will ever play for them again.”
Wizards blog Bullets Forever sees Gilbert’s point, even if he’s in the wrong for what he’s done.
I understand that this is a remarkably complex issue, and the Wizards were kind of in a no-win situation. I also realize there’s a legitimate argument to be made that Arenas deserves no sympathy at all. But Arenas’ thought kind of confirm what many of us have said this week, which is that the manner in which the Wizards went about this merited questioning. Nobody said they needed to continue to push Arenas as the face of the franchise, but the way they did literally everything they could to distance themselves made any sort of reconciliation impossible. Now, the Wizards are in a position where they better hope the contract can be voided, because Arenas isn’t coming back and nobody’s going to want to trade him.