Washington, D.C. is a mild sports town. The Nationals lost 100 games last season and nobody cared. The Redskins were an embarrassment and everybody blamed their obnoxious owner rather than the players. The Wizards are currently in the basement of the Southeast division, yet they too, don't receive the criticism they probably deserve. All of this hammers in just how much trouble Gilbert Arenas is actually in.
The incident between Arenas and fellow Wizard Javaris Crittenton is almost unfathomable. The two reportedly pulled guns on each other in Washington's locker room over an unsettled card game. In 2008, Arenas signed a 6 year 111 million dollar deal to remain in Washington. The fact that he would bring a gun into a locker room, where he is being paid 220,00 dollars per game would be laughable, if it weren't so scary. Besides being investigated by the NBA for this incident, the DC police are also asking questions. Considering Washington has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, it's tough to imagine there being no legal repercussions from this event.
It's difficult to have empathy for Arenas in this situation, even in comparison to other professional athletes who've had problems with the law recently.
Philadelphia Eagle Michael Vick served over a year in prison for running a dog-fighting ring in his backyard. As cruel and inhumane as this was, Vick was raised on dog fighting. This doesn't excuse his actions, but it makes them more understandable.
Former New York Giant Plaxico Burress also had issues with guns. He brought one into a nightclub in New York, where it accidentally discharged into his own leg. This was beyond stupid and certainly criminal, but it was a one-time incident.
This is really where Arenas is most in the wrong. He was already under investigation by the DC police for guns in the locker room before his "showdown" with Crittendon. After the news broke, rather than showing even the slightest bit of remorse, Gilbert mocked the attention on twitter and played himself off as a victim. Seemingly the last straw for David Stern was Arenas being photographed before a game last week making shooting motions with his fingers at teammates. Stern suspended the fallen star indefinitely, sending his future into a perilous spiral.
It's not Stern's reaction that makes this situation unique. Rather, it's the explosion of negative reactions from the Washington DC sports fan base. These are the same people who gave former Nationals GM Jim Bowden a free pass for stealing money from his players.
It's this development, not that of the commissioner's office which should really have Gilbert Arenas sweating. He may feel that an NBA suspension and a looming police investigation is a laughing matter. I doubt he'll feel the same way about an entire city turning their back on him.