I feel not a shred of sympathy for Gilbert Arenas.
The Washington Wizards will go without Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton for the remainder of this season, punishment handed down by the NBA for their parts in what can only rank as solid proof one does not need any shred of brain matter to be a star athlete.
Arenas and Crittenton got into a verbal spitting match on a team flight due to the dangerous results of a card game, and then continued their macho "mine's bigger than yours" testosterone play into the team locker room by seeing who had the bigger gun. Crittenton, a minor player who won't be missed at all, has become the clubhouse leader in reviving the argument about NBA players being mostly gangsters and thugs after he allegedly popped a live round into the chamber of his weapon to make a point about being disrespected.
No doubt there are those only critical of this action because he didn't use a speed clip and save valuable time.
The fact Arenas has for the moment lost his job in the NBA only leaves me feeling sorry that rare talent has been tossed into the nearest dumpster, soaked in gasoline and introduced to something flammable.
The self-imposed slicing of his career jugular will continue for Arenas, as being bounced from the NBA is the least of his concern. March 26 he will be sentenced for the felony gun charge he was slapped with after the incident. Choices for the court range from simple probation, a tap to the cheek for someone who could have purposely or accidentally shot and/or killed someone in the locker room, to five years learning how to tuck in bed sheet corners for his cell mate.
The distinct possibility that he will trade in NBA shorts for a prison jumpsuit?
Nothing could be more necessary in teaching our generation of spoiled, morally inept, law breaking athletic sycophants that they can no longer fall back on the "my dog ate my homework" excuse.
For while being gifted with exceptional talent most mortals would surrender years on their life to play with for just a short time, Arenas has been exposed as something much less than an athletic star.
He's a common, street level criminal. One who just happens to wear tailored suits. A convict in the making who may luckily have been revealed before he truly decided to take a life with what would have been spun as an "accident".
His complete disregard for human life and a simple level of societal behavior puts him just above the gang-bangers who revel in their ability to shovel guns in the face of anyone who dare to question their superiority.
Those who bring up Arenas' childhood as good reason to forgive his actions are just as misguided and delusional as he is. There are untold stories about men and women of every race, creed and social class who have risen above their disadvantages to become societal leaders, enviable humanitarians, and just plain good mothers, fathers and friends.
Feel sorry for Gilbert Arenas?
I will only feel sorry for society if the message delivered at his sentencing is one of leniency due to his celebrity status or based on his "difficult upbringing".
Move over, Plaxico. There's a new poster child for being famous and taking responsibility like everyone else.
And it's long overdue.
Ed Berliner is represented by Entourage Management LLC. His complete sports columns on all topics can be read here.
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