On several planes, Gilbert Arenas and Dan Snyder are totally alike. On about a million they are not.
One commonality I can easily think of is that they both appear to be utterly oblivious to the general sensibilities of those who live in reality. Now, it’s not completely the fault of these men that they live in a fantasy world – NFL owner, a $100 million contract NBA man — but the ridiculous ways they can act is on their own accord.
Another similar trait of the two maligned D.C. sports figures? (One of whom the city no longer has to deal with.) Both are championing legal maneuvers against free speech.
In mid-June lawyers for the Washington City Paper made a filing, under anti-SLAPP laws passed in the District of Columbia last December, seeking to dismiss Snyder’s well-documented lawsuit against the local weekly alt-newspaper because of a November 2010 article written by the WCP’s Dave McKenna, “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder.”
The ACLU, along with D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh and several organizations — the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the Maryland-District of Columbia-Delaware Broadcasters Association, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, National Public Radio, Allbritton Communications (publisher of TBD and Politico), Atlantic Media Inc. (publisher of National Journal and The Atlantic), WUSA-TV (Channel 9), the Public Access Corporation of the District of Columbia, Politico, the Public Participation Project, the Environmental Working Group, and Public Citizen — co-signed the fight to dismiss Snyder’s lawsuit against the City Paper with an amicus brief of their own.
For reference, SLAPP stands for ”strategic lawsuit against public participation,” and quoting from its Wikipedia entry, it is, “a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.”
So, you can probably imagine what anti-SLAPP laws aim to do. Snyder has also imagined, and on August 1 his lawyers filed a response to the City Paper‘s motion to dismiss, mostly saying that anti-SLAPP laws are unconstitutional and that the D.C. City Council did not have the authority to pass such a law in the first place; this according to a blog post on the City Paper‘s website.
Essentially, Snyder is saying that laws intended to keep wealthy public figures from silencing critics with their money are un-American. How’s that for the owner of a racist Native American logo football team?
Where does Gilbert Arenas fit into the anti-SLAPP-ing?
Arenas and his lawyers have been filing their own motions to prevent fair critique in a free world. On Monday June 20 it was announcedthat Arenas’ ex and mother of his four children, Laura Govan, would be appearing on the upcoming season of VH1′s Basketball Wives. By Thursday of that week, the day of 2011 NBA Draft, Arenas was said to be filing federal suits in Los Angeles aiming to keep Govan off the show.
For a guy who is so candid on Twitter, this left us all wondering what Arenas was trying to hide? Or rather, was his warped sense of reality seemingly trying to determine which juicy gossip should be released in his world of ”controlled chaos” and which should not?
But that won’t exactly stop VH1, or Govan. As Arenas’ attorneys have ramped up efforts to keep Govan off the show, Shed Media, the producer of Basketball Wives, recently filed their own anti-SLAPP motion against Arenas. Here is the relevant quote from the motion via The Hollywood Reporter:
“In a showing of unparalleled hubris, Plaintiff claims that he is so famous and important that simply mentioning the words ‘basketball wives’ in the same sentence as Govan’s name — even without actually mentioning Plaintiff’s name — impermissibly impinges on his rights. Essentially, Plaintiff claims that because he is famous, his ex-girlfriend is not allowed to talk about herlife. Plaintiff is wrong. Govan has a constitutional right to tell her story, even were it to result in an unauthorized biography of Plaintiff.”
Not to have her own voice go unheard, Govan also recently gave a phone interview to Loop21.com.
“Hell naw!,” Govan says when asked if she’s worried that Arenas’ motions will keep her off the show. And when asked if she’s spoken to Arenas since he made the filing, Govan says:
“Yea, I talk to him all the time. He’s still the father of my children. And we have a great relationship. It’s funny because we’ll sit and we’re talking and I’ll be like, “Damn, dog. You’re suing me like a hundred times. Like, what’s up with that?” But, we’re cleaning it up. It just takes time because he’s filed so many goddamn things against me. And now we’re at the point where we’re just cleaning stuff up. We’re just looking to really, really be good parents to our children.”
Damn, dog… Finally, somebody cares about the kids.
In any case, congrats to both Arenas and Snyder. In so many ways, via lawyers, lawsuits and big money priviledge, they represent America. In so many ways, their efforts against free speech represent Syria.
I can’t say I’m a fan of Basketball Wives, which could probably be re-titled, “Spread ‘Em For Money” (because to be on the show, in fact, you need not be an actual “wife”), but if all the legal wrangling and ridiculousness means that thirsty Americans can continue to feast on the train-wreck blood of the lives of others, then I’m all for it.
Otherwise, why are we blogging anyway? Thank you U.S. of A.