The NBA released a statement today from David Stern that stated Gilbert Arenas has been suspended indefinitely from the league without pay:
â€śThe possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us. I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation involving the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department, and the consideration of this matter by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia. For the same reason, I directed the Wizards to refrain from taking any action. Wizards personnel continue to be interviewed by law enforcement authorities, some are scheduled for appearance before the grand jury and the investigation is proceeding with the intensity that one would expect for such a serious incident.
â€śAlthough it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game. Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.â€ť
Arenas is making $12M this season, so each game he misses will cost him $147,000.
In regards to the police investigation into Arenas’ conduct, you also wonder if Stern is privy to details that the public isn’t. Though the league and/or Wizards were definitely going to do something in terms of a suspension, Stern’s initial move is more harsh than I would’ve expected.
That may have to do with Arenas’ laissez-faire attitude when reports first surfaced about his alleged confrontation with Javaris Crittenton.
Next we’re likely to hear a response from the NBA’s player union. You would think it’s a given that Billy Hunter & Co. will appeal the unpaid suspension.Â - at the very least attempting to get Arenas back on the payroll while he’s in legal limbo.
One also wonders if this will clear the way for the Wizards to attempt to void Arenas’ contract, which the union will most definitely contest.
*UPDATE (4:16p ET)*: The Wizards also released a statement.
â€śWe fully endorse the decision of the NBA to indefinitely suspend Gilbert Arenas. Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbertâ€™s recent behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable. Some of our other players appeared to find Gilbertâ€™s behavior in Philadelphia amusing. This is also unacceptable. Under Abe Pollinâ€™s leadership, our organization never tolerated such behavior, and we have no intention of ever doing so.â€ť
This is a photo of Arenas last night and gives a likely clue as to why the league took the action that it did today:
*UPDATE #2*: Arenas released this statement through his attorney Ken Wainstein:
“I feel very badly that my actions have caused the NBA to suspend me, but I understand why the league took this action. I put the NBA in a negative light and let down my teammates and our fans. I am very sorry for doing that.
While I never intended any harm or disrespect to the NBA or anyone else, my gun possession at the Verizon Center and my attempts at humor showed terrible judgment. I take full responsibility for my conduct.
Earlier today, I called Commissioner Stern to apologize, and I hope we will be able to talk soon. I look forward to the day I can return to basketball. In the meantime, I will focus on dealing responsibly with this serious situation and I will continue to cooperate fully with the investigations by law enforcement and NBA authorities.”
*UPDATE #3*: Billy Hunter released this statement in regards to Gilbert:
“The Players Association was informed today that Gilbert Arenas has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA as a result of his actions in bringing firearms into his team locker room. Gilbert has acknowledged his regret regarding this incident, and the Players Association is aware that there is an ongoing criminal investigation taking place. The Players Association will continue to monitor the investigation being conducted by law enforcement authorities and the Commissioner’s office. At the conclusion of these investigations we will determine the appropriate action to take on Gilbert’s behalf.”