Gilbert Arenas Responds to Tuff Truths About Locker Room Guns | Wizards Blog Truth About

Gilbert Arenas Responds to Tuff Truths About Locker Room Guns

Updated: October 8, 2015


Caron Butler re-told his side of the Wizards locker room gun incident between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton in his new book “Tuff Juice,” an excerpt of which went viral-ish on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, Arenas responded with his version with his current form of blogging/social media-ing: Instagram.

Arenas’ side of the story came in two parts, and then quickly deleted the posts. Like that matters—screenshots, my dude.

First, a couple things struck me as curious about Caron’s version, which was certainly polished up to fit nicely in a book about his life and painted Butler in a positive light. Such is certainly understandable, even if his revealed details didn’t actually provide clarity to the situation. TAI colleague Adam Rubin put it like this in an email discussion:

  • Caron was sleeping when events escalated and in no way participated in gambling.
  • Caron immediately tried to calm down the situation.
  • Caron understands and appreciates that he has been given a privileged life due to basketball.
  • Team management looks to Caron to be a mentor and father figure.
  • Caron was the only player who did not run for his life in the locker room.
  • Caron is not scared of guns.
  • Caron saved the day by persuading Javaris to put his gun down.

It is what it is, as Mike Miller would say back in those days. If you haven’t already, you can read the full except from Caron’s book here on the D.C. Sports Bog.

Now, what struck me:

  • From Caron’s version it’s unclear if Arenas was participating in the airplane card game or not. From previous accounts, Arenas was not a direct participant; from Arenas’ Instagram account, he entered the game at some point after initial disputes between other players had begun.
  • Before moving to CSN Washington, J. Michael Falgoust, in his work for USA Today, interviewed Arenas, then a Memphis Grizzly, who told his side of the story.
  • We should all note that Arenas is King of Revisionist History, so it’s hard to ever believe his cries of wolf or whatever, but he’s also the type to not give a fuck about sugar-coating the truth (unless it benefits him, of course!).
  • What stood out to TAI about Arenas’ story in USA Today was that Crittenton initially became upset that JaVale McGee borrowed $200 from Earl Boykins, then won a pot in a card game, and did not immediately pay Boykins back. Crittenton then got on McGee’s case about this, which is when Arenas intervened. We already blogged about this silliness.
  • The argument escalated until the plane, bringing the Wizards back to D.C. from a road trip, landed with both players making threats, serious or not, to shoot each other. The Wizards had an off day on Sunday, during which  one would have thought all parties would have come to their senses. They didn’t, and the result was that fateful locker room incident.
  • According to Caron, someone at the Verizon Center immediately called 9-1-1 after guns were or were not drawn. Who? Who knows. But one must wonder that, if that did not happen, would team management, upon finding out about the incident, have tried to prevent the word “guns” from getting outside of franchise walls. We’ll never know, of course. If anyone actually called 9-1-1 in the first place.
  • Butler also claims that when the gun incident was escalating, everyone left the locker room except him, Arenas, and Crittenton, and that the last man out locked the door behind him. This seems totally odd. For one, I can’t recall if there was a lock outside of the main locker room door, but it does not totally make sense that someone would have locked the players inside of the locker room. There’s also a separate door that leads into an adjacent training room. Perhaps Caron meant that several players retreated into the training room and locked that door.

The government’s memorandum in aid of sentencing from March 2010 told a pretty detailed story. You can access the full version here via the Washington City Paper. Two compelling parts (bolding is my emphasis):

At least six additional individuals of the Wizards organization observed the defendant’s firearms openly present in the locker room at some point that morning. These six additional individuals arrived and departed the locker room at different times, and accordingly, some observed more than others. For example, some observed the firearms as the defendant pulled them out of his backpack and laid them out for Crittenton. Some observed the firearms only after they had been laid out by the defendant, but before Crittenton had arrived. Some observed the firearms during the beginning of the confrontation between Crittenton and Arenas. According to the government’s investigation, however, no uninvolved witness observed how the confrontation ended between the defendant and Crittenton. By that time, all of the witnesses had fled the locker room. Some fled out of a desire to be uninvolved, some fled out of feeling uncomfortable, while others left out of sheer fear.

So, at the time, Caron Butler did not feel compelled to tell the government that he witnessed how the confrontation ended, if, in fact, he did. In his book, however, a different story. This part of the government memo is also worth relaying, if only to reinforce how dangerously childish this whole thing, i.e., Arenas “the defendant” was.

In a subsequent meeting later that morning, members of team management asked the defendant directly whether he had firearms in the locker room, and the defendant admitted that he did. When asked why the defendant had firearms in the locker room, he became hostile. He stood up and raised his voice, stating words to the effect of: “Fuck that, you guys are trying to blame me. I’m out of here. I’m leaving.” The defendant was ordered to sit down, and he complied. When asked again why he brought firearms to the locker room, the defendant gave different reasons. At one instance, the defendant claimed to have brought them to the locker room to get them away from his family. At another instance, the defendant claimed to have brought them to the locker room to sell to another teammate.

So now to Arenas’ recital today. Part 1—you can (sic) much of this (full screen shots below):

i respect @caronbutler book and got my copy but the #Gunsinthelocker story is FALSE in his book…..butler and i were sleep #javale #crit #boykins were playing cards by time i was woke up #crit was ballsdeep in losing so i decided to join the game…so #crit got #Booed which means he didnt get one book #spades so he had to match the pot which was 1100 but 800$ was his so he just lost 800$ and the pot now is at 1400$ and 1100$ of it is his….#javale won the first 1100$ pot so he scooped the money….#boykin asked javale “can i get my 200$ now since u have money”javale said after we land i dont wanna jinx myself….#crit spazz(give that nigga his money,u just won my money pay that nigga)so i jumped in, damn dog thats between them two niggas” he turned too me and said fuck u nigga”i said shit u owe me 200$ i think u owe #caron 300$ but we aint says shit…he pops off again”oh fuck nigga u would try to money talk somebody”so now its my deal…so earl said im out..javale said i dont need no cards……#crit needs 5 new cards so most likely he was about to match the pot ONCE again so i said im out knowing javale got A K Q so since its #crit money in the pot no need to fight if he will get boo,ed so i show my hand and #crit got mad i had 3 trump cards and didnt fight with him……so he screams,MISDEAL gil showed his hand..javale said fuck that i win i have A K Q…so #crit trys to use misdeal as a way of starting the hand over so i said yall figure that out…so i walked to the back…they stay aruging but #earl convince them that javale wins…#crit yells loud FUCKN i yelled back..come get the shit with yo hands if u wanna misdeal….so when the plane lands he walks back talking tough…saying if we were in the streets ill pop u in ur knees…i said shit ill give u the guns too do it on MONDAY…it was #sat…we had sunday off…..i get to the gym at 8am i put 4 empty guns on his chair and a note that said pick 1 no one seen me touch a gun or seen me put them there…when crit came in…i was in the training room #crit #dsteve #blache #dom were the only was in the locker room when i walked in…

Gotta respect the hashtags. Part 2:

so #crit says whats this shit…..i said”u said u were gonna shoot me so nigga there go the guns so pick 1..MEANING pick the one ur gonna shoot me with like u said……so he said i dont need these shits.. thats when #Caron entered the room and a trainer.. #crit takes the guns off his seat and throws it on the floor hitting the trainers foot..he runs into the training room…and #crit pulls out a little silver gun that #eddie murphy shot the pinky toe off with hahahahaha (im not gonna say if it was loaded or pointed at me,no need to bash a man who cant defend his name)lets just say i started laughing and said put that harlems night gun away..look at the shit im GIVING u,imagine what i have at home so u can keep those……….the fucking end……..javale picks up my guns and toom them to my car…#caron hides crit gun in the locker room….i was in the juczzi so #crit comes in with me and we started talking he said i play too much,and i said your just a hot head…..we started shooting around….they called #crit first too say what happened … i was last so the story became,i pulled a gun and wanted to shoot #crit BUT i owed him money lmaoooooooooooooo i owe money but imma shot u #wheretheydothatat if he owed me money,i make 20 million so i wouldnt pull GUN for 1100$ smdhhhhh….this happen dec 21 …and the story was told jan1……like i said no one seen me touch,hold,grab,move anything….the funny thing is….i got suspended 50 games,charged with felony and the only teammate #crit decided to call when he needed money for his mom was MEEEEE becuz he knows i wont hold a grudge against a teammate and i gave him 60K for his money surgery…i sent money after he just said he was scared for his life……but is said dont worry about me ill take the blame do what u need to do……… i do regret making fun of him and calling his bluff……the same thing ive done with matt barness and dfish is the same shit i did that day….i wish him the beat and @caronbutler book to sell out…but what i wrote is the real story

Well how about that? Now, Arenas’ story doesn’t exactly refute Butler’s account, but it doesn’t confirm it, either. Exactly what happened still isn’t clear.

At this point, the gist, however, is evident: Arenas was trying to bully Crittenton while disguising it as a joke, and Crittenton was crazy enough to take him seriously. That said, it’s hard not to become entrenched in the details. The 2009-10 season was my first year covering the Wizards with media credentials. Those were surreal times, and ‘GunGate’ was something that drastically changed the course of the franchise. (Also hard to believe that the incident happened six years ago and the Wizards are where they are today.)

Of course, there’s so much more to distill about this story—Arenas making light of the incident on Twitter and in a team huddle in Philadelphia (which is really what got him suspended); the government’s case essentially targeting Arenas and ignoring the fact that Crittenton had actual bullets and a loaded gun (Arenas did not have bullets for his guns); and then Crittenton later being found guilty of murder in a completely separate incident in Atlanta, where he killed a young mom in a drive-by shooting as she was walking with someone whom Crittenton suspected had robbed him in an incident at a barber shop.

So much going on—for another day and thousands more pixels, likely. Nonetheless, this Instagram’d ‘truth’ is out there.

Screen Shots of Gilbert Arenas’ Instagram Message:



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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.