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Article:Gilbert Arenas Suspended for the Rest of the Season

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The NBA has announced the suspensions of Washington Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton for the remainder of the season.

The decision from commissioner David Stern comes less than two weeks after Arenas pleaded guilty to felony gun possession charges and two days following Crittenton entering a guilty plea on a misdemeanor gun charge.

Arenas was in New York on Wednesday, along with his lawyer, to meet with Stern, and supposedly requested the length of the suspension -- adding he would instruct the players' union not to challenge the decision.

"Mr. Arenas respects commissioner Stern's decision to issue a suspension for the remainder of the season," Arenas' attorney, Ken Wainstein said. "Mr. Arenas recognizes that his actions were a serious violation of the law and league rules and were detrimental to the NBA and its reputation. He accepts full responsibility for what he did, and takes no issue with the length of the suspension or the process that led to the commissioner's decision. It is Mr. Arenas' hope that this punishment will serve an important purpose, as a strong reminder of the responsibility that he and all NBA players have to set the right example with their conduct on and off the court. As such, Mr. Arenas has asked the Players Association not to challenge the suspension."

Stern issued a statement Wednesday along with his ruling, detailing the reasons behind the decision.

"The NBA has conducted a thorough investigation of events relating to this matter.

"The issue here is not about the legal ownership and possession of guns, either in one's home or elsewhere. It is about possession of guns in the NBA workplace, which will not be tolerated.

"I have met separately with Mr. Arenas and with Mr. Crittenton. Both have expressed remorse for their actions and an understanding of the seriousness of their transgressions. Both have volunteered to engage in community service in order to turn the lessons they have learned into an educational message for others. I accept fully the sincerity of their expressions of regret and intent to create something positive from this incident.

"Nevertheless, there is no justification for their conduct. Accordingly, I am today converting Mr. Arenas' indefinite suspension without pay to a suspension without pay for the remainder of the 2009-10 season, and am also suspending Mr. Crittenton without pay, effective immediately, for the remainder of the 2009-10 season."

The suspension, as reported, would last 50 games for Arenas, who had already participated in 32 contests this season before Stern announced Arenas' initial indefinite suspension January 6. Crittenton did not play in a game for the Wizards this season after undergoing foot surgery in late October. The Washington Post's story also cited league sources as saying Stern was considering an 82-game ban.

The incident in question involved both players getting into an argument after a card game last month. Crittenton allegedly said he should shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired left knee. On December 21, at Verizon Center, Arenas placed guns on a chair next to Crittenton's locker with a note that said "pick one." Crittenton then allegedly pulled out his own semi-automatic handgun in retaliation to Arenas' claimed joke.

The Wizards, who have 38 games remaining in their season, issued a statement supporting Stern's decision.

"Both players violated D.C. laws and NBA rules by bringing guns into the locker room. Their poor judgment has also violated the trust of our fans and stands in contrast to everything Abe Pollin stood for throughout his life. It is widely known that Mr. Pollin took the extraordinary step of changing the team name from "Bullets" to "Wizards" in 1997 precisely to express his abhorrence of gun violence in our community. We hope that this negative situation can produce something positive by serving as a reminder that gun violence is a serious issue.

"We look forward to putting this unfortunate incident behind us."

In the end, Washington is left with a remaining four years on the six-year, $111 million contract it gave Arenas after the 2007-08 season. Arenas was averaging 22.6 points, 7.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds this season after combining to play just 15 games over his previous two years due to injury.

As part of the Post's report into the details of Wednesday's meeting, Arenas also brought up to Stern the possibility of having the remainder of his contract voided. Stern supposedly replied it would be up to the team to make that decision.

Crittenton was set to earn close to $1.5 million this season, his final year under contract with the team. He has averaged 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in his two-year career. The team was doing well and then they did this took a gamble on some sports picks and totally screwed over the whole Wizards organization. Abe Polin must be rolling over in his grave right about now.

Meanwhile, both Arenas and Crittenton will continue to deal with the legal ramifications from the incident.

The 28-year-old Arenas will face sentencing March 26, while Crittenton reportedly received a sentence of one year probation and $1,250 in fines at Monday's hearing. The 22-year-old was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and attempting to carry a pistol without a license. One of the charges was dropped in exchange for the guilty plea.

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