The Cavaliers and Wizards are not fond of each other - we all know that. Gilbert Arenas is a big part of that, going all the way back to a couple missed free throws by Arenas, set up by some "words of encouragement" by LeBron James in Game 6 of a series a few games ago. Arenas could have iced the game, but instead, opened the door for Damon Jones to win the game, and the series, with the 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Since then, along with 2 more playoff series wins for the Cavaliers over the Wiz, including the LeBron-DeShaun Stevenson feud - the teams have shot salvos at each other before, during and after games. That's why the recent news of Gilbert Arenas toting guns into the locker room, and his subsequent Twitter-breakdown, hasn't been met with much sympathy among the Wine and Gold - sometimes silence is deafening.
Today, the NBA decided to stop Arenas from further damage by taking him off the court. This comes the day after Arenas was pointing his fingers like guns at teammates during a game against the Sixers, as well as numerous Tweets that made light of the situation.
David Stern wasn't laughing.
"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," Stern said in a statement. "Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA."
The entire situation has been embarrassing to the NBA, something Stern takes very personally, and while the League tried to let due-process take its course, it became apparent that Arenas wouldn't let that happen.
For their part, the Wizards are supporting the decision -
"Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbert's recent behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable," the statement said. "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."
As for Arenas himself, he issued an apology for a 3rd straight day -
"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."
This whole ordeal casts a shadow on tonight's game, which is unfortunate. Here's hoping Arenas gets the help he obviously needs.