Official: Wizards to fine players
The Washington Wizards plan to fine some players for participating in Gilbert Arenas’ on-court antics that made light of his gun troubles, an NBA official said Thursday.
The official told The Associated Press that the team is reviewing details from the Tuesday night game at Philadelphia before determining who will be fined and how much. The official has direct knowledge of the team’s plans and spoke on condition of anonymity because the review was still ongoing.
Before the game, Arenas was surrounded by his teammates when he knelt on the court and pointed his index fingers at them, as if he were firing guns. A photograph shows nearly all the players laughing or smiling.
The official said the fines would be contingent in part on whether Arenas and his teammates planned it ahead of time.
Arenas was suspended indefinitely without pay by the NBA on Wednesday for bringing guns to the Verizon Center and related incidents, including a locker room spat with teammate Javaris Crittenton that involved firearms. Commissioner David Stern was particularly upset that Arenas joked about it, adding that the player was "not currently fit to take the court."
The Wizards also rebuked Arenas and the players who found his behavior "amusing," saying their actions were "unacceptable." The team is owned by the family of the late Abe Pollin, who changed the team’s name from Bullets because of the violent connotation. The Wizards have told Arenas to stay away from games, practices and other team functions.
Arenas is also under investigation by federal and local authorities for possible violations of the strict gun laws in the nation’s capital, and evidence is being presented to a grand jury. Because the Verizon Center in a designated "gun free zone" – within 1,000 feet of a day care center – Arenas would be subject to twice the fine or jail sentence if he is convicted.
Also Thursday, a huge Arenas banner was removed from the side of the Verizon Center by order of the team. Several stories tall, the banner featured Arenas dribbling a ball, staring straight ahead, with the team slogan "Character, Commitment, Connection" superimposed on his image.
Likewise put to rest was Gilbert Arenas’ Twitter account, which he often used to poke fun at his own plight after news of the confrontation with Crittenton first broke on New Year’s Day. Arenas once boasted of a goal to accumulate a million followers, but his page had been erased as of late Thursday.