From Agent Zero to Agent Silent to Agent Boring and back again. Does it really matter?
Arenas’ Self-Imposed Gag Order Lifted By NBA Judge
On late Tuesday the NBA fined Gilbert Arenas $25,000 for refusing to speak with media and the Wizards $25,000 for not making him talk. Later that evening, Gilbert’s first “interview” since media day (via Michael Lee of the Washington Post) was an unfortunate dissipation of his personality … about as lethargic as watching elderly people eat white toast while they watch paint dry.
Arenas’ games with the media are a bit annoying. He’s partially silencing himself because he just wants to concentrate on basketball after being injured for so long. Perfectly reasonable. The other part seems like an attempt to be ‘cute’ since he feels he’s been tragically wronged by the media in the past. Uh, not so reasonable.
I’m not saying Arenas isn’t somewhat justified in being miffed toward previous coverage of him. But at the same time, his own words caused much of the strife. It’s not like Arenas was constantly misquoted or taken out of context with malicious intent. He was able to speak directly to fans via ‘Agent Zero: The Blog File’, which was how people became so attracted to his sincerity in the first place. Without blogging, he’s probably just another Ben Gordon.
I guess Gil just feels misunderstood. But the problem is that he doesn’t understand how he could contribute to the cause of him being misunderstood. If that makes any sense. Perhaps his ghost-writer/blogger should have used more emoticons and ‘LOLs’ so that we would ‘get it’.
I’ve recently wondered how Gilbert’s teammates feel about his silence … since they’d become the closest access to Gil there is. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t consider it the media’s “job” to ask them questions about Arenas … especially since that’s who fans want to know about.
Being a hybrid fan-media person (sorta), I’ve been conflicted about this issue when in the locker room. Am I really okay with asking Mike James if the team said anything to Arenas at halftime to get him to stop passing up shots and to start being more like himself? Meh … I really don’t care. If it’s not me, it’s somebody else. I’m not the one who created the situation (kinda fatalistic, I know). Besides, having to answer questions about a teammate isn’t a unique situation in professional sports.
Via the recounted “interview” on Wizards Insider, some of Gil’s teammates are having fun with the situation (Brendan Haywood), and some have Arenas’ back (Antawn Jamison and Mike Miller). Good for them. Between that and trips to Target with JaVale McGee, it seems that Arenas’ relational apathy is reflected toward those on the outside of the team, not inside. And that’s really all that matters.
How could I not respect the man’s desire to remain in stealth mode (or now that he has to talk, banal mode)? Maybe the fans are deprived to some extent, since part of the media’s purpose is to be a conduit between players and fans (and not to strictly “report” on events), and especially since fans no longer have a direct window into Arenas with his retirement from the blogosphere.
If all we’re going to get from Gil is disappointing cliches like “at the end of the day,” “it is what it is,” and “both teams played hard,” he might as well go back to not talking. Let the NBA give his money back and leave him alone. Agent Trite doesn’t benefit anyone. I’d rather see Arenas stay silent and do what he wants to do, play basketball.
But at the end of the day because it is what it is, if the Wizards represent one half of both teams playing hard and start winning, the fans really won’t give a damn.
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- How to Alienate Players and Lose a Lot of Games: The Washington Wizards Way