‘Homophobic Gimmick’? NBA Team Bans KissCam

Kyle Weidie of the WASHINGTON CITY PAPER reports today that the NBA’s Washington Wizards discontinued a “homophobic gimmick” last January.

Weidie noted, “just before a game against the Denver Nuggets, the Wizards stopped running the Kiss-Cam Ambush gimmick.”

What happened? Team spokesman Brian Sereno indicates that the practice was halted due to a complaint—though he won’t say exactly who didn’t think it was that funny. By email, owner Ted Leonsis declines comment.

Brent Minor, a spokesman for TeamDC, a gay and lesbian sports-advocacy organization, to Weidie about the ban:

“It does raise the larger question of if somebody was actually gay; there is sensitivity to that. So I think it was probably the best course of action.”

But while the focus of Weidie’s piece is mostly about the homophobic implications of the in-game video feature, he also reported:

But the change may not have been about being respectful of the people in the audience at all: In a subsequent conversation, Sereno says concern for visiting players’ feelings was a factor.

In 2009 the WNBA Washington Mystics, who share an owner and building with the Wizards, also banned the Kiss-Cam.

Following that decision, WASHINGTON POST columnist Mike Wise wrote:

“We wouldn’t broadcast on our Jumbotron about abortion issues because of the religious and political conflicts it would cause,” said Lindsey Harding, the team’s point guard. “It’s a similar, sensitive subject. We don’t want to put anything out there to turn down certain fans.”

But doesn’t the KissCam question distill where we really are? A rite of spring in the NBA — where couples of mixed creeds, ethnicities and ages are suckered by peer pressure into puckering — is somehow taboo in the WNBA.

On the Jumbotron at Wizards games, couples on their first date sometimes balk at kissing, which generates laughter. Other times couples are ready for the lens — passionate kissing and theatrical groping, which usually brings the building to a crescendo of hilarity.

Funny, huh, not one same-sex couple has ever been shown on that screen.

So why did the Mystics ban the Kiss-Cam?  Sheila Johnson, the Mystics’ managing partner: Read more…

Arenas: “If She Can’t Have Me, She’ll Destroy Me”

A month ago I relayed dubious details of the breakup of Gilbert Arenas and the mother of his three children - with another on the way.

Card Sharks With Gilbert Arenas

(If only the kids had a card to play. Ugh.)

Laura Govan, who was with Arenas for nine years, claimed in late December (through her publicist) to Amy Argetsinger of the WASHINGTON POST that Arenas had “abandoned” their children and left her without money to buy their kids Christmas gifts.

Last week in a Washington Post piece co-authored by the same reporter who published Govan’s earlier claims, Argetsinger, more sordid details of the relationship seemingly surfaced. But the bizarre nature of the provocative information can’t help but call into question the veracity of the details.

As part of the Post’s gossip column The Reliable Source, Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts published the following on Jan. 27:

That might have been the end of the public drama. But then Govan contacted Trope and Trope, a high-profile family law firm in Los Angeles, and met with an attorney from the firm. Somehow, nine pages of typewritten notes from their meeting ended up in the midst of a court filing in another, unrelated case handled by the firm. All the pages were filed in a public docket in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Trope and Trope did not return calls for comment. According to a court order allowing the firm to remove the notes from public record because they contained “confidential attorney-client privileged communications,” the firm “inadvertently copied and submitted” them due to a “clerical error.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, the content of those documents portrayed Arenas in an extremely negative light, including what the Post reporters called his “profligate spending.” Excerpt:

In confidential notes, Govan — who is expecting her fourth child with Arenas — describes fights where he repeatedly threw her out of the house, his profligate spending (including a shark tank/pool/grotto complex said to cost $1 million), lavish vacations and spending sprees at toy stores.

And yet they never had a nanny, Govan complains, according to the notes: “he would state ‘you had them you watch them.’ “

If Trope and Trope sounds familiar, it’s because Sorrell Trope is perhaps the leading celebrity divorce attorney on the planet. But don’t take my word for it, you can read all about him on a TMZ.com page dedicated solely to Trope. The L.A. attorney has most recently repped Oksana Grigorieva, the estranged girlfriend of Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen’s beleaguered ex-wife Brooke Mueller.

And now Laura Govan.

It isn’t impossible to believe that Trope’s firm could’ve committed such a colossal gaffe in mistakenly including notes from the Govan-Arenas spat in a court filing for another of the firm’s cases. But for those notes, which included incredibly damaging claims against Govan’s legal adversary, to go from being buried in a random Los Angeles Superior Court civil case filing to the direct email inbox of the same Washington Post reporter who previously gave Govan a pre-Trope outlet for her abuse claims against Arenas is a coincidence defying belief.

Trope’s business model is to massage public and media perception of his client in order to win financial rewards for them. The leakage of the Arenas docs certainly fits that profile. There’s always a chance the file fumble was a completely unintended mistake on the part of Trope’s firm.

Or not.

This week, for the first time, Arenas himself was confronted on the record about his breakup with Govan.
Read more…

Arenas Baby Mama: “no money” For Food, Xmas

A nine-year relationship involving Gilbert Arenas and the mother of his three children - with another on the way - has gotten ugly.

Gilbert Arenas and Laura Govan

The WASHINGTON POST reports that Arenas broke up with the mother of his children, Laura Govan, around Thanksgiving.

More from the WaPo’s Amy Argetsinger:

A representative for Govan - yes, there are reps involved this time - told The Washington Post that Arenas has cut off communication and funds from her and their three children.

Govan, who is four months pregnant with their fourth child, “has not heard from Arenas the whole month of December,” said publicist Laura Wright in an e-mailed statement. “Govan and the children feel like they have been abandoned.”

Wright - who has worked for Govan’s sister Gloria and her fiance, Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes - said that Govan was left at their Great Falls home “with no money to purchase food or Christmas gifts.”

Arenas has yet to comment on the accusation from his former fiancee though he did tell reporters before he was traded from Washington to Orlando that he’d been staying at teammate Nick Young’s home for “about a month.

After he was traded from the Wizards to the Magic, Arenas told the Washington Post on Dec. 20 that he couldn’t wait to jet - literally - from D.C.:

“I went to the airport and left. I didn’t have a chance to say bye to anybody. I didn’t even say bye to the kids.”

This isn’t the first time Govan has had a highly publicized breakup with Arenas. From the Post: Read more…

Video: New Wizards Guard On Point With Dougie

In his home debut, a 116-115 overtime win over Philadelphia Tuesday night, rookie Washington Wizards point guard John Wall scored 29 points, had 13 assists and added a remarkable nine steals.

John Wall does The Dougie

But though it was an amazing game all-around for Wall, what will probably be most remembered from last night in the years to come will be his first regular season introduction to the hometown D.C. crowd.
Read more…

Blatche Now Headlining NBA Wizards Dog Show

Kyle Weidie of Truthaboutit.com achieved sports media alchemy today. Rarely do you get a post about a meaningless late season NBA game that does more than make you ponder if you’ve been running the tub too long.

Andray Blatche Falls Short On Triple Double Attempt

But Weidie, the Mary Seton of NBA Southeast Division bloggers, performed the miracle of making me care what happened at the Verizon Center last night.

Sunday evening, Andray Blatche of the Wizards was only one rebound away from a triple-double. With a little video editing magic, Weidie quickly chronicles Blatche’s delightfully desperate attempts during the last :30 to reach double figures in boards.

Read more…

Gilbert Arenas Had “500 Guns” In Family Home

Gilbert Arenas, who pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge in January and will be sentenced for his crime next week, let slip an unfortunate tidbit about his affinity for firearms. In an interview with Esquire magazine due out next week, the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports:

Gilbert Arenas same golden gun model as Saddam Hussein used

Arenas told Esquire that he used to have as many as 500 firearms in his home, having bought many of them from an elderly man’s World War I collection. He says he put all but four of them in storage when he started having children.

Wow, dude was down to four. Talk about living dangerously! Read more…

Cuban Confirms Concern over Howard’s ‘Partying’

There’s been plenty of speculation that one of the reasons Mark Cuban traded Josh Howard to the Wizards last week was his concern about Howard’s partying. More specifically, Howard missing a recent game because he was hung over. Cuban addressed that on the Dan Patrick Show today:

Josh Howard Mark Cuban

Cuban also talked about former Maverick Josh Howard missing a game because he was hung over. Cuban said that he thought Howard could have done more to play that day.

Read more…

Report: Arenas Asks To Be Suspended For Season

UPDATE: It’s official, Arenas and Javaris Crittenton both gone for the rest of the season.

Michael Lee of the WASHINGTON POST reports:

Gilbert Arenas same golden gun model as Saddam Hussein used

A person familiar with today’s meeting between Gilbert Arenas and NBA Commissioner David Stern said the Wizards’ three-time all-star guard requested to be suspended for the remainder of the season and sources said that Stern plans to abide by the request.

According to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Arenas also told Stern that he would tell the players’ union not to fight the suspension.

Stern will announce his ruling later this afternoon.

Mind runs wild with those requests from Arenas.

Arenas Dropped By Adidas After Felony Guilty Plea

TMZ.com reports it was sent this statement by Gilbert Arenas shoe sponsor Adidas:

Gilbert Arenas Dropped By Adidas

In response to Gilbert Arenas’ guilty plea to felony charges, adidas has terminated its agreement with the athlete effective immediately.

Read more…

Gilbert Arenas Pleads Guilty, $80M Deal Still Valid

Michael Lee of the WASHINGTON POST reports Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty in a DC court today to a felony charge of carrying a pistol without a license. In a plea deal with prosecutors, Arenas will serve no more than six months in prison. More likely, he’ll see 2-3 month of jail time. He’ll be sentenced March 26.

Gilbert Arenas Gun Photo

Arenas’ felony guilty plea does not violate the morals clause of his NBA contract, which has $80 million dollars left on it. A plea to a violent felony would trigger an automatic suspension of 10-games, but it is not known if the felony would be classified as violent.

Read more…