Agent Zero Is Dead
April 14, 2012 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Finally, Gilbert Arenas reveals the whole story behind the infamous Washington Wizards guns in the locker room incident.
posted by reenum (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Arenas leaves out the best (worst) part, which is what happened after he brought the guns into the locker room, but the article touches on it.

The document further details that witnesses saw Arenas lay out his firearms in front of Crittenton's locker and that Crittenton brought out his own.

In other words, "I got guns, too, dammit." And suddenly you have a room full of millionaire athletes pointing guns at each other.

Which would be hysterical except for this part that everyone forgets about...

Last August, Crittenton was arrested and charged with shooting from an SUV and killing a 23-year-old mother of four in Atlanta.

Crittenton's trial is pending, but that's not stopping him from other hijinks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:12 PM on April 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hmmm. Young men, given a great deal of money and a sense of entitlement, under inadequate supervision by people who just want to make money off them, threaten each others' lives....
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:20 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. Young men, given a great deal of money and a sense of entitlement, under inadequate supervision by people who just want to make money off them, threaten each others' lives....

This is not the problem. People talk big talk all the time. It's when you add access to GUNS to the mix that things get all fucked up.
posted by Fizz at 2:24 PM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is not the problem. People talk big talk all the time. It's when you add access to GUNS to the mix that things get all fucked up.

You don't think so? When young men are given an environment where all sorts of bad behavior is forgiven, ignored, and rendered consequence-free as long as they continue to play well (see: college athletics), you don't think that allows for escalation? sure, sensible people wouldn't bring guns to the locker room, but it's not like anyone has any interest in these guys being sensible.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:31 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


GP, you make a strong point. I'm not at all saying that behaviour of that type should be overlooked or condoned. My point is that access to the weapons only aggravates an already troubling situation.
posted by Fizz at 2:39 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was three quarters of the way through the article before I realized that the Washington Wizards is not the Washington Generals. (Yeah, I don't follow basketball much, but when I read that Arenas was playing for the Grizzlies, I was thinking, "huh. That happens? That's a step up, good for him.")
posted by smcameron at 2:41 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jay Smooth put out a really interesting vlog talk a while ago that I think might help explain why millionaire adults might beef with each other using guns over a few hundred dollars, using Charles Hamilton as an example. Addendum.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:54 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really miss mid-90s Gilbert. He was fearless and fun to watch. Free Darko did a great breakdown of his shot selection. As he got further from the hoop and into the badlands known for lower-percentage shots, his accuracy went up. The guns and the knee ended a great career. Sure, he's still playing, but it ain't a great career no more.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 3:05 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure, he's still playing, but it ain't a great career no more.

Sure got paid for that overall mediocre career, though.
posted by inigo2 at 3:10 PM on April 14, 2012


"(Expletive, racial slur)"

That's just what I was saying to one of my buddies the other day!
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2012


One Hand, I miss Gilbert too (though I think you're thinking about early 00's). Agent Zero, Hibachi, Swag, all of that stuff. The name of the blog might have been Free Darko, but Arenas was their spirit animal. That one, shining moment of the Wizards-Cavaliers series was amazing, and it almost seemed like the Wizards would actually mean something again.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:07 PM on April 14, 2012


Are the guns really the active ingredient here, or is it the stupid?
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:08 PM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


One Hand, I miss Gilbert too (though I think you're thinking about early 00's).

Speaking of One Hand - Here's Gilbert making 73/100 3-pointers one-handed.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 7:23 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep, thinking of the early 00's. Thanks for that video.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 7:33 PM on April 14, 2012


Back when Arenas was with the Wizards, I remember reading a profile of him that talked about how phenomenally good he was at basketball video games. Apparently, he liked to spot people absurd numbers of points (like 200) and then beat them anyway. In the story though, he wasn't playing at the Wizards. He was playing as the Cavaliers against the Wizards (right after their playoff series) and spent the whole time berating computer Gilbert for not being good enough. It made me want to give him a hug.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:41 PM on April 14, 2012


"And suddenly you have a room full of millionaire athletes pointing guns at each other."

I don't think this happened. Arenas specifically says he never had a gun in his hand during the incident. Did anyone?
posted by Manjusri at 7:47 PM on April 14, 2012


That is, did anyone actually point a gun at someone during this incident?
posted by Manjusri at 7:51 PM on April 14, 2012


Mkay.

Sorry to point out the elephant in the room, but...

WHY IN THE BLISTERING GREEN FUCK DO PEOPLE EVEN BRING GUNS TO THE LOCKER ROOM?
posted by Samizdata at 7:52 PM on April 14, 2012


That's no really the elephant. It's the thing that has radically changed the life of pretty much everyone involved in the story. Arenas said in the interview, at the time, his response to Crittenton threatening to shoot him was to say, "Really? Where? When?" because he was interested in what would happen. He said he put the guns on a seat in the room, leaving a note to say he wanted to know where and when. Arenas, given as much as anyone knows of him, takes jokes too far. It turns out that he wa joking with the wrong damn person (see Crittenton and what he's done). One of the most frequent comments in pre-gun incident articles about Arenas is his innocence bordering on naïveté, and in this case, he went too damn far. A lot of things are at fault, not least of all Arenas himself. Also at work was a) permissive gun culture, and b) an organization that bent over backwards to make Arenas happy, letting him get away with shit that, had it been put a stop to, could have avoided the whole thing. Players getting into fights over gambling? In the locker room? Where were the coaches in this? How did the organization let it get that far? This is not a unique incident (outside of scale), but it's also one that, league wide, is pretty damn rare (Now that Charles Oakley is out of the league). The fight last season on the Grizzlies team plane? Gambling is no longer allowed on the plane. Players were reprimanded, and a couple suspended. The Wizards were unable or unwilling to set boundaries.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:06 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever position you have regarding guns, they are amazingly effective in revealing core elements of one's character, without a trigger ever being pulled, just by observing how a person behaves while handling them.

In this case, its a couple of very proud, immature fools who thought it wise to use guns as a stand-in for their 'star players' in a dick-waving contest.
posted by chambers at 8:11 PM on April 14, 2012


He said he put the guns on a seat in the room, leaving a note to say he wanted to know where and when. Arenas, given as much as anyone knows of him, takes jokes too far. . . One of the most frequent comments in pre-gun incident articles about Arenas is his innocence bordering on naïveté

The poor judgement was breathtaking. Given the volatile mix of machismo, wounded pride and ego it is some kind of miracle no one was shot in the locker room that night.
posted by mlis at 8:34 PM on April 14, 2012


I just find it breathtaking that a bunch of guys making at least $400,000 and on average more like $3-4 million a year to play basketball together were even talking about killing each other over a couple hundred bucks. Mind you, this is the team that had to change its name from the Bullets because of the message that sent in a city where hundreds of people were being murdered every year—predominantly, I think we can assume without being presumptuous, young black men. Guess what other group is predominantly young black men?

Now is it fair for me, as a middle-class white guy, to say that Arenas and company should be, if not better role models, than at least sufficiently appreciative and self-aware about their good fortune not to wave guns at each other in the locker room? Is it patronizing of me to feel disappointed in them? I don't know. These guys came from somewhere that I don't understand. But I find the behavior utterly bewildering and disappointing, at least, in that it reinforces the kernel of truth in so many ugly stereotypes.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:10 PM on April 14, 2012


"Guess what other group is predominantly young black men?"

I don't know which group you mean, why be coy?

"Now is it fair for me, as a middle-class white guy, to say that Arenas and company should be, if not better role models, than at least sufficiently appreciative and self-aware about their good fortune not to wave guns at each other in the locker room?"

This is a sentiment I never hear when white athletes, lawyers, CEOs or politicians fuck up, even the ones born on third base, I wonder what the salient difference between them and Arenas might possibly be.

"Is it patronizing of me to feel disappointed in them?"

I don't think it is patronizing so much as a total non-sequitor, I mean WTF? This is a grown man who is more successful than you are ever likely to be, because he is better at what he does and much more than you will likely ever be at anything, and you are disappointed in him as if he were a child. If it isn't patronizing, what is it exactly?

"But I find the behavior utterly bewildering and disappointing, at least, in that it reinforces the kernel of truth in so many ugly stereotypes."

A ha! Something tells me you don't mean stereotypes about tall people.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:52 PM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not like they had the example of a Vice President shooting a friend in the face while goofing around with guns for kicks. Yet.
posted by srboisvert at 1:15 AM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"But I find the behavior utterly bewildering and disappointing, at least, in that it reinforces the kernel of truth in so many ugly stereotypes."
The kernel of truth? WTF is up with this racist shit lately? Yeah it's not like when Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face people were talking about the problems of old rich white dudes.
posted by delmoi at 6:20 AM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's nothing to be gained by over-analyzing this incident. Gilbert is/was a practical joker who had a complete, documented history of taking jokes too far. Dude took a crap in someone else's shoe. He also cut up a suit. Here's a nice history of his "jokes" - almost every single memorable one goes over the line - sprinkling baby powder on donuts is one thing, but breaking into a teammate's house to steal a jersey? Turning a hose on a guy taking a shit?

Javaris Crittenton obviously couldn't handle or didn't know about Gilbert's willingness to push it to the next level. And obviously Javaris was a rook (at least new to the team), and he also wasn't quite good enough on the court to get much respect - the only played in the league for two years after coming out for the draft as a freshman. The allegations that he later shot and killed a woman because the man he was with stole some jewelry from him probably tells you how quickly he was also willing to escalate the situation.

The way I see it, there were just a bad mix of personalities involved with no one willing to be the wet blanket in that locker room, as Gil had free reign to do as he pleased, and things got out of hand. That said, I really am rooting for Gilbert to make a comeback with Memphis this year (and I actually wish my Wolves had picked him up) - he's a fun-loving character who has had the lifeforce sucked out of him by a chronic (some might say karmic) knee injury, and I don't think anyone should be allowed to play basketball without smiling.
posted by antonymous at 7:42 AM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know which group you mean, why be coy?

Have you ever watched an NBA game? Who's being coy here?

My whole comment was clearly about young black men. The meaningful difference between them and white CEOs is that young black men in the NBA are often from difficult backgrounds and are among the only prominent people that other young black men can look up to as examples of success. When white politicians or whoever else fuck up, it is certainly disappointing but they are simply not role models to disadvantaged groups of people in the same way. That's the point.

The kernel of truth? WTF is up with this racist shit lately?

The "kernel of truth" is that a good number of these players come from hard backgrounds where violence is a part of life. The stereotype which is based on that truth is that the NBA is full of thugs. It's silly to think that when an NBA player pulls a gun on a teammate or gets arrested for murdering a young mother in a drive-by, it doesn't reinforce a lot of negative stereotypes. As someone who feels invested in those stereotypes dissipating, I am disappointed when things like this reinforce them instead.

What are you even getting at with your Dick Cheney comparison? If you want to have a conversation about how gun violence is a major problem among old white men, then I'm all ears, but to my mind the reason that incident doesn't trigger those discussions is because it's not emblematic or representative of a wider problem among older white men. Otherwise it's a nice dog whistle liberal reference to throw out there so thank you for that, but I don't see what else it accomplishes. In conclusion, thanks for calling me racist, do you have anything else to add or is that going to be the extent of your contribution here?
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 8:11 AM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, this:

I don't think it is patronizing so much as a total non-sequitor, I mean WTF? This is a grown man who is more successful than you are ever likely to be, because he is better at what he does and much more than you will likely ever be at anything, and you are disappointed in him as if he were a child. If it isn't patronizing, what is it exactly?

is a misconception. You're the one equating being disappointed in someone with considering him a child. I'm disappointed in all kinds of grown men and women. I'm disappointed in John Edwards. I'm disappointed in the entire Sanford, Florida police department. I'm disappointed in Bernie Madoff. If I said any of those things, would you accuse me of treating them like children? If not, then why are you doing it here?
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 8:15 AM on April 15, 2012


What are you even getting at with your Dick Cheney comparison?

Srboisvert brought it up, it just seemed like a good example. He shot someone. The point is, no one said that "reinforced stereotypes" or whatever. These two people were idiots. But what does that have to do with anyone else?
posted by delmoi at 9:00 AM on April 15, 2012


Because there is no stereotype that the Dick Cheney thing reinforced. I suppose you could go out on a limb and make some anti-hunting, anti-NRA, look-at-these-fucking-rednecks-running-the-country thing out of it, and, you know, actually people did, but it's a real stretch.

Look, I am not saying these guys are, personally, any less entitled to be assholes and draw guns on each other than a couple of white dudes would be. But this is a league whose commissioner implemented a dress code to force guys who dressed like this to start dressing like this. There is a real underlying narrative in the NBA where the white team owners and league officials and network execs are thinking, basically, "It's great that these guys are making us so much money but it's too bad they're a bunch of thugs who we need to reign in." I believe an incident like this reinforces a lot of those feelings. Is it fair to Arenas that he's in that position? Of course not. I think it's true, though; I believe the scrutiny is such that you can fly under the radar for years but when you do something that seems to reinforce a negative stereotype, that's what you get remembered for. Because that's how bias works.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:38 AM on April 15, 2012


There's definitely a difference between acknowledging the existence of stereotypes and saying when an event fits that stereotype, and actually arguing that the stereotype has merit. In fact, they're quite nearly opposites. Is anybody actually confused by what dixiecup is saying? It seems pretty straightforward and uncontroversial to me.
posted by mellow seas at 10:06 AM on April 15, 2012


@dixiecupdrinking

This is for you
http://www.theroot.com/views/why-don-t-we-talk-about-white-white-crime
posted by RedShrek at 5:53 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do you expect from the team originally known as the Washington Bullets?
posted by snottydick at 10:28 AM on April 16, 2012


RedShrek, unless you have anything more to add, I'm not going to waste my time pointing out all the ways in which that article is almost totally nonresponsive to everything I've said here.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 2:53 PM on April 16, 2012


Fascinating story, and it explains a lot. I always liked Arenas (and Richard Jefferson) slightly better than the average Arizona jackoff, so I was disappointed with what happened. Arenas still looks pretty stupid, however, but not as stupid as the punishment.

I just find it breathtaking that a bunch of guys making at least $400,000 and on average more like $3-4 million a year to play basketball together were even talking about killing each other over a couple hundred bucks.

You've never seen players in a penny-ante game get steamed? It's not the money.

Also, a NFL coach just lost a season for his team's bounty system that offered pennies in rewards compared to salaries.

There is a real underlying narrative in the NBA where the white team owners and league officials and network execs are thinking, basically, "It's great that these guys are making us so much money but it's too bad they're a bunch of thugs who we need to reign in."

I think it's more like owners/officials/execes are thinking "It's great that these guys are making us so much money but it's too bad White America thinks they are a bunch of thugs." Let's patronize the rich white folks and make the boys wear nice clothes and stop smoking weed.

Why on Earth was anyone concerned in the late 1990s about NBA players smoking marijuana (as opposed to NFL players abusing prescription drugs like nobody's business)? You know why. No one cares about the drug abuse at Sigma Chi.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:59 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


@dixiecupdrinking

I think that article provides the adequate response to the point/stereotype that is at the root of what you have posted so far.
posted by RedShrek at 5:28 AM on April 17, 2012


I believe the article merely discusses the same stereotypes that I am discussing. If you think I believe in the veracity of those stereotypes or am endorsing them in any way, then I think you should read what I've written more charitably. I hesitate even to keep writing here because of the age of this post and the drive by nature of your comments but I feel a need to defend myself against what I'm interpreting as an accusation of racism, so if you care to elaborate on what you would like me to gain from your article I am all ears.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:56 AM on April 17, 2012


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