LINKS: The Persecution of Gilbert Arenas
Daniel Wattenberg writes a very insightful piece, “The Persecution of Gilbert Arenas: How gun prohibitionists and an image-conscious NBA scapegoated a basketball star,” at Reason.com. He covers the entire gun saga and the surrounding implications, such as …
D.C. gun laws after the Heller decision:
Taken at face value, the Supreme Court’s ruling opened the door to a broad, though not unlimited, right to carry handguns in the District of Columbia, inside and outside the home. And why would Arenas have taken it any other way? Like many of us, he had probably heard or read something about the widely publicized Heller decision—and little or nothing about the inside-page story of the D.C. government’s response. Now there may be a broad public understanding of the District’s new gun rules. But if so, that’s largely thanks to Arenas’ own highly publicized arrest and prosecution.
In the prosecution’s theory of the case, Arenas was the Wizards’ alpha male, bent on preserving his supremacy against all rivals. Accordingly, his actions in the locker room were part of a dangerous, darkly motivated plan to intimidate an upstart benchwarmer. In stubbornly insisting the incident was no more than a “misguided prank,” the prosecutors claimed, Arenas was refusing to own up to the seriousness of his crime. Because the act was premeditated, they argued, it must not have been a prank—as if the two concepts are mutually exclusive.
That damn Peter Vecsey:
Not merely inaccurate, Vecsey’s coverage was taunting, the rhetorical equivalent of bear-baiting. In a particularly provocative passage, he gratuitously floated a scenario—betting on NBA games—that would have triggered the lifetime ban he thought Arenas deserved.
The whole piece is a good recap and a must-read.
No matter what you think of Gilbert Arenas, he was, as Wattenberg suggests, a scapegoat … on some level. But it’s not to say Arenas didn’t deservedly suffer the consequences of his own immature actions.
The remainder of the season suspension was much too harsh. At the same time, I can’t exactly blame David Stern for making an example out of Arenas for, A) failing to comprehend the perception of his actions outside his own little sheltered world, and B) failing to keeping a separate perspective on the irresponsible ridiculousness of Peter Vecsey.
Oh, and then there’s that whole ‘I got the guns out of the house because of my kids’ lie.
But in the end, no part of the ordeal, as overblown as it was by today’s media world, is a reason to deduce that Arenas is a poisonous cancer. He is human. Humans make mistakes. Humans, good, genuine guys like Arenas, can mature for the better (I hope).
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[DC Sports Bog]
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I was a teenaged LeBron James defender, and now, the pendulum has come swinging back in the other direction. On a gut level, as a fan and writer, I feel right now like James deserves no benefit of the doubt, no close reading. This is clown-ish, buffoon-ish behavior that plays into every negative assumption anyone’s ever had about James — or the rest of the NBA. Bare bones, we’ve got a perplexing exit from the postseason, followed by the Super Summit, and now the whistle stop, all while other players continue to toil for a ring.
What James doesn’t consider, and what drives me mad, is that what will happen on the court should be at the heart of all this. That he doesn’t, or is as flippant about that as he is new marketing opportunities, is why today, I can’t stand LeBron James.
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