Washington Wizards players Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton apparently got into a dispute over a gambling debt and pulled guns out on each other. Neither shot, symbolic of the fact that the Wizards are one of the worse teams in the NBA.
Why should we be shocked?
Many NBA and NFL players pack heat in spite of league admonitions to the contrary.
Sometimes accidents and tragedies happen. Last year Plaxico Burress, the star receiver for the New York Giants, shot himself in the gluteus maximus at a Manhattan nightclub. He’s now spending 2 years in prison.
Brian Blades, a Seattle Seahawk player, in 1999 accidentally killed his cousin while trying to shoot a clump of sod off his cleats. Brian was not a rocket scientist.
Ray Lewis copped a plea to obstruction of justice after being arrested for murder after an altercation outside an Atlanta nightclub during a Super Bowl party on January 31, 2000.
Many mishaps have occurred and players have been arrested for weapons violations.
And yet, the number of NBA and NFL players who are victims greatly exceeds those who misuse guns. Players have been shot, beaten, and robbed, sometimes in their own homes. Several have been killed in shootings in which they are the innocent victims.
Athletes present a visible target to many criminals.
Self-preservation explains much of the possession of guns by athletes, but not all.
Many of the athletes come from the Hood, and have never left it. Some hang out in it or associate with friends from the Hood. Why should we expect them to leave the Hood behind?
Others frequent black night clubs, where many of the patrons, not just celebrities or athletes, pack heat.
White, black, and Hispanic athletes mess up in many ways.
NBA players have a sterling record for promiscuity. Sports Illustrated printed an article a few years ago on the loose morals of some NBA players, and the number of illegitimate children they sired. Some had women in every NBA city. Kobe’s mistake was that he did not take no for an answer.
Some engage in spousal abuse, including major league managers.
Other players and former players commit crimes of violence or theft. Some are druggies while others are alcoholics. DWI’s are common.
Some of the star players never make it to the pros. They mess up in college, including some of the nation’s top universities, getting arrested for drugs, theft, rape, batteries, and perhaps homicides. These incidents are publicized more often these days, or perhaps it’s more honest to believe, that the athletes can no longer get away with this misconduct today.
14 players were left behind by Michigan State before the Alamo Bowl. The players celebrated their football banquet by wearing ski masks into a dorm and beating up 7 people. Ohio State only left 6 behind before the Rose Bowl.
Some of the nation’s best basketball players shoot hoops behind bars, perhaps with football players as spectators.
We hardly ever hear of the athletes, not to mention celebrities, who lead exemplary lives.
Athletes don’t screw up any more than other celebrities, or non-celebrities.
In short, they are a microcosm of America.
Charles Barkley said it best after one of his escapades: “I am not a role model.’