Maybe the whole pre-game display from last night pissed off David Stern, because he has brought the hammer down on Gilbert Arenas pretty quickly.
Stern just announced that Arenas will be suspended indefinitely, per the tweets of several different NBA writers. Here's what Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted.
David Stern has suspended GIlbert Arenas indefinintely without pay. Calls him "unfit" to play in the NBA now.
"Unfit" to play? Well then. I'm sure Stern didn't mean this literally, but in typical Stern fashion, he said something interesting to go along with his decision.
In all seriousness, I can't get too worked up over this. Am I concerned that Stern seemed to make his decision based as much off Arenas' conduct after the act than the act itself? Yeah, a bit. You'd wish that wasn't the case.
But a long suspension was unaviodable at this point, and probably well-deserved. He brought the guns on league property (not just team property), so comparing this to any of the cases in the past (Delonte West, Stephen Jackson, Sebastian Telfair, Chris Mills) is comparing apples to oranges.
Thoughts? Fair? Unfair? Lemme know.
UPDATE from RealGM:
Although 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.
UPDATE: David Stern's full statement:
"The 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.
"Although 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."
"We fully endorse the decision of the NBA to indefinitely suspend Gilbert Arenas. Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbert's recent behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable. Some of our other players appeared to find Gilbert's behavior in Philadelphia amusing. This is also unacceptable. Under Abe Pollin's leadership, our organization never tolerated such behavior, and we have no intention of ever doing so."
They forgot to add "because now we can try to void his contract" to that first line. (Editor's Note: Snark that's not meant to be taken too seriously).
UPDATE: From Woj:
"Stern feels like he's been taunted by (Arenas)," NBA source says. "He's done for the year....at the very least."
I hope to god that's not true (the taunting part). Stern shouldn't be dishing out punishments on the basis of any perceived personal slight. Punish the action, not the reaction.
UPDATE: This is an interesting look at the chances of Gil getting put in jail in DC. Basically, the argument here is that it'll hinge on how the court defines "place of business."
UPDATE: Gil's statement, which I'm sure was written by his lawyers.
"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."
Also check out SB Nation's story stream.
UPDATE: Thanks to NeverNervousPervis for posting this link. Several of you are wondering where Stern gets the right to just suspend Gilbert on a whim while guys like Delonte West are still playing. Here's a clarification from the CBA.
Since the firearms language was strengthened in the 2005 collective bargaining agreement, NBA players are subject to discipline if they bring guns to the arena or practice facility, or even an offsite promotional appearance. That gave Stern the option of taking action now instead of waiting until the completion of the criminal case, as he usually does.