At age 28, Gilbert Arenas is learning that guns are no laughing matter. Arenas entered a guilty plea on January 15, 2010 to a felony charge for carrying an unregistered gun into the District. This charge carries a maximum of 5 years. He could have been charged with four felony counts for the four guns he brought to the Verizon Center locker room. He might have received a misdemeanor charge had he not already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in California. Gilbert’s been around the block more than once on gun charges.
All of this started when Arenas allegedly jokingly placed 4 guns with a note to Wizards player Crittenton to pick one. He continued laughing, joking, shucking and jiving about the gun issue until Commissioner Stern pulled the plug on him. He was suspended indefinitely for his continued gun playing shenanigans. Before suspension, Arenas jokingly stated he feared Commissioner Stern more than the prosecutor. Obviously, Arenas valued his livelihood and his $111 million dollar contract more than his liberty. Unfortunately what he failed to realize is the two are intricately linked together.
At his sentencing on March 26, 2010 the prosecutor will seek no more than 6 months jail time. The judge could give him anywhere from probation to up to 5 years. Let’s see if Arenas will be able to dodge a bullet on the jail time. All joking aside, I doubt it. Judge Morin is likely to give Arenas a split sentence with some jail time followed by a lengthy period of probation, a fine and community service. He will have plenty of time on his hands to do any community service.
Will his $111 million contract be voided? By all accounts, it looks like his contract is already voided. All signs of Arenas are gone from the Verizon Center. Gilbert has already left the building. All that’s left is the formal announcement. The Wizards are waiting for the appropriate moment to announce their divorce from Gilbert. But make no mistake the train has already left the station without Arenas on it.
After pleading guilty Arenas must face the music of the NBA and Commissioner Stern. Stern as his name implies will probably issue a harsh sanction against Arenas. The NBA will want to deliver the two punch suspension. But, the NBA should not impose a suspension or sanction greater than what is required under the circumstances. Arenas should not be used to set an example to other players. He will already miss the rest of this season, probably lose his remaining $80 million contract and may serve jail time. If that happens, it should inflict enough pain.
But Gilbert Arenas in the long run has only himself to blame. After March 26, 2010, let’s see who’s left laughing about guns.