As you may be aware, former Wizards star Gilbert Arenas posted something about women's basketball on Instagram this past Tuesday. I'm not going to bother embedding that post -- or any of them -- which you can easily find somewhere else, but here's the quote (NSFW language):
NOW this is what america was hoping for when they announced the #WNBA back in 1996... not a bunch of chicks running around looking like,cast members from#orangeisthenewblack...dont get me wrong,they have few #cutiepies but theres a whole alotta #beanpies running around hahahahahaha if #skylardiggins came out like this,I dont care if she missed every layup..imma buy season tickets and I dont even know where the fuck #tulsa is hahahaha #2016newwnbaoutfitPLS and if u think this is sexist,9 times out of 10 u the ugly one and we didnt pay to come see u play anyway #donkeykong ...smdh#thiswillbeawesome #soldouteverywhere
That post is utterly inappropriate and offensive. The backlash was significant to say the least, and the WNBA issued a statement on Arenas late Wednesday afternoon.
WNBA/NBA Statement Regarding Gilbert Arenas' Comments pic.twitter.com/yZ8Nga6weZ— WNBA (@WNBA) December 16, 2015
In life, sometimes we screw up. I'll admit it. I'm no saint. I've screwed up in life many times. When that happens, I apologize, learn from that mistake, shut up, move on with my life, and do what I can to make sure it never happens again. Most of us would do just that if we were in a situation like Arenas was at the time the WNBA issued its statement.
But Gilbert Arenas isn't most people. He zigs when most would zag.
On Wednesday afternoon, Arenas doubled down on his previous sentiments with three more offensive and profane Instagram posts. First, he posted a picture of some Legends Football League players with this statement:
Ppl act like I said some shit thats just down right sexist and rude.....str8 men are attracted to women RIGHT? Men are 80 percent of sportviewers RIGHT? So lets name a few women sports,that still attract the men viewers...#Tennis,omg they were short skirts like female..#trackandfield,short tights and crop tops,so we can see abs "we get ass prints and stomachs,in that sport YAY"#volleyball,short tights and booties hanging out the back off their shorts "FUCK wheres my beer" #beachvollyball,fyckn swimsuits,jumping up and down WOW..#arenafootball theres nothing attractive about a women playing#FOOTBALL until they came out with the gear (no they didnt)"girls running each other over with 90 percent of their clothes removed..whos the mastermind behind this#sexist sport he or she needs a fucking statue..#UFC the manliest sport by far but they seem to attract men viewers by the million OMG it must be the tights and the crop tops and just maybeeeee a fighter gets hit so hard her sports bra falls off hahaha....ALL ABOVE SPORTS seems to understand the concept.....#Basketball has the lowest views by men BECUZ their mimicking MEN #Basketballchicks has some of the best bodies in women sports#Lesbians or #str8 we can give two shits about what they prefer in the bedroom becuz men prefer #assandtitties and last time I checked theres 20 total titties and 10 asses running around but for some odd reason were not getting it..what were getting is #tats #dreads #highsocks#baggyshorts #elbowpads..sounds like MEN attire to me..this sport will continue to be less viewed and under paid compared to other female sports#presidentLAURELRICHIE theres a reason 7 out of the top 10 highest paid women athletes come from tennis #Skirts and#ass.....if the #NBA got rid of the thug imagine for global viewing SHOULDNT you?? I dont care if u dont like the truth becuz MEN DON'T WANNA WATCH WOMEN ACT LIKE MEN..if they came out with an all #gay man sport..I bet they will wear less clothes then the #WNBA and thats a #FACT lol NOW GIVE US WHAT WE WANT and unveil them bodies...SEXINESS RUNS THIS WORLD...if ur selling sex,MEN are buying...ive never seen a man hooker trying to pick up women on the corner
Next, he posted a picture of himself with the title "Most WNBA Players are Ugly Lesbians" with the below statement:
Hahahahaha I didnt say anything about them being #Lesbianslol..im a logical man...a female+ a female = 4 breast,2 vaginas,2 asses,meaning im on the hunt.. A female telling me shes a #lesbian is like a video chick saying she aint a groupie...I AINT really listening to shit she saying..all im trying to do is convince her and her partner that im a #lesbianstarterkitbecuz we all know two females is better then 1 lmaoooooo but that ugly part YEAHHHH they got some #boogawolfs in that league lmaooo hahahaha #impetty#mrpetty
Finally, Arenas posted an "F You" video to those who criticized his previous remarks. He also gave a shout out to a number of women's basketball players who he found attractive:
To all the ppl mad about my POSTS #jackieM #aroundthehorn and bunch of high self esteem ugly chicks #FUCK YOU hahahahahaha I was trying to help ya sport But I guess yall are doing fine with #orangeisthenewblackbasketballedition #peoplehatethetruth what makes me laugh is if you ask men,name a few women basketball players.. we only know the cute ones lol #mayamoore #skylarD #leilani #candiceparker #penny #suebird #lisaleslie #swincash #dianataurasi #mariastepanova #brittneyjackson #dellavedova and #hoopz from #flavaoflove hahahahahaha
I'm very disappointed in Arenas' actions because the content isn't something I stand up for. But I'm also disappointed because this further alienates him from the Wizards.
Several months ago, many Wizards fans were very pleased to see him supporting the team during their playoff run through his Instagram account. In light of that, I wrote that the Wizards and Monumental Sports should reconcile with him.
Unfortunately, these posts make it hard to happen, now or in the future. In fact, the content and sentiment behind them show exactly why Monumental Sports won't re-embrace him like they have with other recent alumni like Antawn Jamison.
Here are several reasons why:
1. Arenas showed a great deal of ignorance in all of his posts
Hate to sound like CNN's Fact-Checking team, but there are some outright inaccuracies in his posts. I'll just use his quotes and set the record straight from there:
- From the first post: "if #skylardiggins came out like this,I dont care if she missed every layup..imma buy season tickets and I dont even know where the fuck #tulsa is hahahaha" - The Tulsa Shock announced that they were relocating to Dallas this past summer. On November 2, the team renamed itself the Dallas Wings. Diggins has been with the Tulsa/Dallas franchise since 2013.
- From the second post: "#presidentLAURELRICHIE theres a reason 7 out of the top 10 highest paid women athletes come from tennis #Skirts and#ass.....if the #NBA got rid of the thug imagine for global viewing SHOULDNT you??" - Laurel Richie is no longer the WNBA President. On November 4, 2015, Richie resigned effective on November 9. NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum is currently handling her duties. The announcement came shortly after her unexpected absence during the aforementioned Dallas Wings launch. Though Richie officially left on her own terms, some feel that that wasn't entirely accurate. Earlier this fall, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed disappointment in the WNBA's lack of growth over the years. He also gave this killer Q&A with espnW writer Mechelle Voepel not long after Richie's departure.
- From the fourth post: "#dellavedova" - Based on the context of his post mentioning "cute" WNBA players, Arenas intended to refer to Chicago Sky forward and 2015 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, NOT Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova. Delle Donne gave her response to Arenas' initial comments before the cute player shout-out was posted, but I think her reply would be exactly the same:
Though these remarks can't be fact-checked Arenas also made a number of other ignorant and offensive statements like these below:
- From the first post: "#2016newwnbaoutfitPLS and if u think this is sexist,9 times out of 10 u the ugly one and we didnt pay to come see u play anyway" - It is sexist since it's clear that Arenas apparently wants WNBA players to be in thongs while NBA players would presumably stay in their tanks and shorts. But I don't watch basketball players primarily because of how they look. I watch to see if they can make highlight plays and lead their teams to victories.
- From the second post: "I dont care if u dont like the truth becuz MEN DON'T WANNA WATCH WOMEN ACT LIKE MEN..if they came out with an all #gay man sport..I bet they will wear less clothes then the #WNBA and thats a #FACT" - The first part of the line touches on the topic that implies that the WNBA/women's basketball is a sport where the players try to act like men or worse. That's bad enough. But the second line is flat out homophobic. You just can't generalize that gay men want to see male athletes wear practically nothing. The timing of that statement is also poor given that Kings guard Rajon Rondo was suspended a game for calling referee Bill Kennedy a slur during a game earlier this month. Coincidentally, Kennedy came out as gay earlier this week.
- The third post was the most disgusting from start to finish. - If Arenas wasn't perceived to be a man who objectifies women before Wednesday, he certainly is now.
- From the fourth post: "If you ask men,name a few women basketball players.. we only know the cute ones lol"- Sure, players like Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi are among the WNBA's superstars. And I'll admit that plenty of men do find them attractive. But men who follow basketball will know who all the best women's players are. Players like multi-time Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings and Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner among many others. Neither were on Arenas' "cute" list. We can go on and on by naming more star WNBA players, but Arenas' last post basically says: "If you're not cute in my book, you don't exist, even if you're otherwise a damn good basketball player."
2. Monumental Sports owns the Mystics
I just don't see any WNBA team's ownership group wanting to associate itself with someone who is posting inappropriate content about their league. And despite the fact that the Mystics play in the same city that Arenas once did, some of their players were quick to denounce his posts:
What I just read from Gilbert Arenas is absolutely disgusting & I'm ashamed that ppl are agreeing and laughing at it! #growup #hemakesmesick— stefanie Dolson (@bigmamastef) December 16, 2015
Home from practice and people sending me what Gilbert Arenas said about the wnba he's a non ________ factor who cares he's a str8 up lame— Ivory Latta (@IvoryLatta12) December 16, 2015
Gilbert arenas....who? Boy bye.— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) December 17, 2015
Even if Monumental Sports never owned the Mystics or had an intention of owning a women's sports franchise, the Wizards would want to stay as far away from Arenas as possible in light of this week's news.
3. Women and girls played positive and notable roles in Gilbert Arenas' gun case in 2010 on his behalf
We may be living in the John Wall Era today. But in 2010, the Wizards were still Arenas' team.
Arenas was sentenced to probation for his gun incident on March 26, 2010. When he was walking to the D.C. federal courthouse for sentencing, he signed an autograph on a young girl's backpack. Sure, it was a publicity stunt, but Arenas was known for being a guy who had no problem doing things like this. And if you were the girl who received that autograph, it's still a cool opportunity.
Before Arenas was sentenced, a number of people wrote character statements on his behalf. One of them was WNBA All-Star Alana Beard. She played for the Mystics from 2004-11. You can read her statement in page 50 of a Memorandum In Aid of Sentencing filed by Kenneth L. Wainstein, Arenas' attorney.
In light of Arenas' posts in each of the last two days, I don't know exactly what to say if I were that young girl or Alana Beard right now. But I do know that it wouldn't be positive.
4. Gilbert Arenas hasn't matured enough, or at all since the gun incident
Arenas has been known to have a carefree personality throughout his NBA career. And it's fair to say that the gun incident in 2010 was a practical joke that went bad, which ultimately led to worse things for Javaris Crittenton, the other player involved in the incident.
Former Wizards stars like Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have opened up their thoughts about that incident in recent months. From reading their statements on it, both have matured from that experience though they weren't directly involved.
However, Arenas doesn't appear to have matured from it over the past several years. That perception doesn't sit well with people.
(* * *)
It is disappointing to see that the current Wizards team is not playing well this season. But Arenas' Instagram posts this week add more embarrassment to himself, the Wizards, and us, the fans. Those posts are something we just cannot advocate. Things like this are why Monumental Sports will likely continue to keep their distance from him.
I still hope that Gilbert Arenas can reconcile with the Wizards one day. But what we've seen this week just made it that much harder to do, if ever.