NBA / Jan 7, 2010 / 8:45 am

Silent Night: Gilbert Arenas beyond Black and White

Gilbert Arenas (photo. Mannion)

So I guess I’m supposed to have something serious to say about this Gilbert Arenas thing, right? Black athlete gets in trouble, powerful White man pounds the gavel and takes money out of Black athlete’s pocket, Black sportswriters instinctively begin to crank out … something … because whether it’s the Thunderbird-fueled wino on the bus or it’s some other clown, what one of us does in front of White folks reflects on all of us. And given the players in this particular drama, there must be a racial seed at the root that needs to be addressed.

I can’t do it. At least not in the way you might expect. And not because I fail to see any racial injustice — if this were Brad Miller displaying his hunting rifles to Aaron Gray in blood-soaked Chicago and daring him to “pick one,” he’d get suspended, too — but because I can’t even defend Gilbert Arenas here.

There is a bigger-picture issue on the table, but it’s not (exclusively) about race. It’s more about another high-profile athlete/celebrity blowing another chance to use his influence to make a positive difference.

I’ve been in the game long enough to know why big-time athletes don’t take political or social stances anymore, despite the urgings of aging predecessors like Jim Brown. The full version was already written in the book Forty Million Dollar Slaves by William C. Rhoden, but for now the short version will suffice: There’s too much money on the line. No superstar wants to risk endorsement dollars by alienating a fan base (as Michael Jordan famously said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”), and no role player wants to risk getting blackballed like Craig Hodges. (While we’re at it, anybody seen Ira Newble lately?)

In Gilbert’s case, even if he truly feels his situation is being blown out of proportion, he could have used the now-inevitable connection between himself and guns to do something right, especially in a city with a history of violence like D.C. He could have cut a PSA about gun violence; he could have made a verbal apology to the kids who look up to him, going off-script to genuinely own up to his mistakes. He could have tried to keep the focus on his actions as a good father (deciding to take guns out of his house when he daughter was born) rather than those as a prankster teammate.

Instead, Arenas constantly downplayed the situation, then on Tuesday night sealed his fate by making finger-gun gestures and cracking up with his teammates — I didn’t notice Javaris Crittenton in that huddle, by the way — before the Wizards game at Philly; another NBA city that has a gun/violence problem. “Ongoing actions” was the term David Stern used in his statement announcing Gil’s indefinite suspension. In other words, it’s not just what you did originally, it’s what you kept doing after the fact.

“If I really did something wrong, it would bother me,” Arenas was quoted. “I would feel remorse for what I did. But I didn’t do anything.”

It’s even more disappointing for me because (1) I like Gilbert, and (2) I know he’s smarter than that. I’ve worked with Arenas several times at Dime, first for a feature story in ’06, then for a cover in ’08, thrown in amongst a handful of one-on-one interviews and random run-ins in locker rooms and at events like All-Star Weekend. Gilbert is smart, honest, perceptive, and for the most part, he gets it. He can point out the fallacies and hypocritical nature of the media. He can recognize his influence on youngsters. He can identify his privilege as one of the fortunate ones who made it out of the storm. He’s shown that he’s not afraid to take a stance on something or to challenge status quo.

And he could have done so much more with this.

Arenas could have been a voice the community would listen to, somebody to step up and call out gun-toting kids and grown-ups in D.C. and around the country for what they really are: Self-proclaimed survivalists masking the fact that they’re simply scared.

“You kids today are punks. Sissified. So quick to pick up a gun; you’re afraid to take an ass-whuppin’.”

Who would’ve thought that the most profound statement regarding youth violence would be asked by John Witherspoon in a comedy movie? Fact is, young people, especially young men, are going to get angry and have beef; but what happened to fighting it out like a real man? When did that which used to be worth getting a black eye become worthy of death?

So while I applaud “NBA Cares” for reading to kindergarten kids, helping rebuild courts, visiting hospitals and handing out turkeys on Thanksgiving, I do wonder where the League — and its stars individually — factor into addressing the most tragic problems in their cities?

Kids are getting killed in Chicago, D.C., New Orleans, Detroit, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Oakland, Houston, Indianapolis, L.A., New York, Miami, Philly, Memphis … everywhere. Kids who love basketball. Kids who listen to the same music basketball players listen to, who watch the same movies and watch the same TV shows. Kids who don’t have the protection of privilege and gated communities and bodyguards. But kids who will listen if only our high-profile influencers ever decided to talk loudly enough.

It’s not all on Gilbert Arenas’ shoulders. Nor is it all on Kobe, Shaq, LeBron, Derrick Rose or any single athlete. But eventually, unless it is mandated by the NBA, somebody will have to step up alone and take the lead. And as much as I appreciate guys like Etan Thomas who will speak out, it has to be a superstar willing to make the move.

Arenas had his chance, and he didn’t take advantage. And while it’s not too late for him, the next time he opens his mouth to speak on real issues, he’ll have to overcome the perception that he’s just doing it as part of some forced community-service or PR campaign.

Otherwise, the podium is open, waiting for a speaker. Waiting for a leader.

Who’s up?

*Follow Austin Burton on Twitter: @AustinatDIMEmag
*Follow Dime on Twitter: @DIMEMag
*Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE

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  • fallinup

    Austin, great read. But I must differ to what you said earlier in your piece. There is too much money involved. I highly doubt any high profile athlete will ever make a stand like that. And it’s a damn shame.

    There’s a reason for the Jim Brown’s and Bill Russell’s of the world. Because back then, they they didn’t play for the next huge endorsement of contract.

  • Mike Mihalow

    This has nothing to do with racism.

  • vince

    Good read. Much respect to Newble, Hodges and Thomas indeed. But it seems like players lose any ideals as soon as they’re close to an all star.

  • the_don_mega

    great piece Austin…

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Awesome read AB. I think a great deal of celebrities also avoid speaking up with masking it by donating to different causes and starting charities.

    While that is really good and wonderful and I applaud the players, music stars and others who do these things, it still has a different impact than speaking on issues.

    Many times giving money and starting the charity is just an easy way to avoid speaking up and still say “Well I give to this and that charity and have started this and that foundation”.

    There is and has been a need for more vocal stars in so many different genres and areas. Unfortunately money is ruling the mind of many on superstar levels and on down to the lowest of the low that “need” their job or feel they can’t do without the money. Hince it puts the “invisible muzzle” on many.

    This also speaks to being able to fall back on other things and having plan B’s and C’s in your life that allow you more freedom to speak up. That way if you lose your job you still have income or a way to take care and maintain your lifestyle. Unfortunately many are stuck with only a plan A in their life and when that fails they often have nothing else.

    It’s going to take going against the grain, being brave and not being afraid to risk money or a job, and also being smart enough to have a plan when your money or job or at risk due to your stance.

    What is kinda crazy is you would think your stars who make “MILLIONS” wouldn’t trip on a or a few loss endoresments because they are still very paid at the end of the day. But I guess to maintain a lifestyle for many and because some or going through their money so fast perhaps they need every penny.

    Minority stars especially need to speak up but every star across the board be you green, white, red or black need to influence the youth correctly as they often hang on that player or those players every word and move.

    So true though AB (and especially with me working with kids daily) it’s not enough of those they really admire and aspire to be like speaking up and helping to lead them in better directions in and of their own accord before they are forced to do the PSA.

    Great write up!

  • karizmatic

    Well written man!

  • Soul Brova 1

    Recently had a discussion about segregation and whether it helped or hindered black people. It helped in that it forced us to unite and utilize our power to build businesses and in short be a self-sufficient community. The end of segregation hurt in that it gave a false sense of acceptance. In today’s time these athletes are the new age house niggas. they feel that the money they make and “privileges” extended to them means that they have been accepted into the white man’s circle and they are seen as equal. In fact they are equal to the white man in that they owe their success to the people suffering in the communities that a majority of black professional athletes made it from and rather than empower, encourage and inspire they choose to exploit these communities. They’ll show up for photo ops so the world can see how “generous” they are in handing out turkeys but where are they three to four months after the holiday season, the answer is nowhere unless their new sneaker is about to be released. Where were the Knicks, Mets, Nets, Yankees, Giants and Jets when Sean Bell was murdered by the NYPD. Yet they proudly wore NYPD pins after 911. As they always tell the officials in their sport, when you make a call at this end, be sure to make it at that end. They are scared of losing out on money when they should look at Muhammad ali, he didn’t make alot of money compared to what boxers are making nowadays but he is so much richer than today’s athletes could ever hope to be. It’s a shame, plain and simple. athletes aren’t the only ones. It would be nice that since politicians choose to use money that could rebuild schools to finance stadiums and arenas that black players especially stand up and demand that rather than another basketball court or baseball field be built a community center where academics and athletics are offered be built. In essence, they are building little factories across the country to produce and improve upon their most lucrative commodity since the first slave.

  • Michorizo

    When JJ Redick walks into an arena with a gun is when this really becomes a problem and the NBA will take preventive steps to not allow this type of behavior to happen again…kinda like crack in the 80s….not a problem til it hit the Dubayoos.

  • gogetit

    Austin, very well written. Lets all be very clear on something… This has NOTHING to do with race. I am so sick of hearing Black man this, White man that. No. If you break the law, there will be consequences. Period. Gil is one of my favorite players. But this was a thoughtless act by a dude who refuses to take anything seriously. Brad Miller would suffer the same consequences.

    Overall, great read. Good work AB.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    Great piece A-Train!

  • gogetit

    soul brova- get a clue. You sound like an intelligent dude but your thinking is waaayyy off here. If that is how you feel, fine. But the Gilbert incident does nothing to prove your point. The dude brought guns into the locker room. Guns that were not registered. So he broke the law and viloated NBA (his employers) policy. He is not being punished because he is black or because the white community doesnt accept him. He is being punished because he broke the law! Figure it out. So sick of the excuses.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    i dunno if this piece is all that accurate.
    its written with a (slight) racial undertone. and i dont quite see where race played a factor.

    again, remember that over 75% of NBA players are black; and over 80% are “minorities”.

    so, considering the landscape of the nature of the backdrop of the person (or people)…its not really possible to have a racial undertone.

    in the NBA, blacks and minorites are actually the MAJORITY. its a reverse dynamic.

    so considering that…race could NOT have played a part

  • http://www.realgm.com Rare Air

    The whole situation is just sad. I like Gil alot too and have always found him to be light hearted and a great personality for the NBA. Nobody will probably know what really happened in that locker room, but I think the actions Gil took after the fact are what caused such a harsh suspension and loss of salary.

    By making a joke of it and not taking it seriously, that had to have really pissed off D Stern, who like him or hate him does not want more bad press for the L. I’d be curious to know what was all said in the meeting between the two and if Stern felt that Gil did not show genuine contrition, decided to the throw the book at him.

    I was really looking forward to having Gil back front and center playing well. I certainly can understood and respect the racial aspects which are raised here and would be curious to see how this would have all played out had it been a Brad Miller or JJ Reddick.

    Having said that I hope on a larger scale that this serves as a reminder to other players black, white, asian, what have you, that the L is going to drop the hammer when it comes to gun issues. The last thing I want to see happen is to have someone get hurt, killed, etc. It’s a sad story for Gil, I feel for the guy.

  • Ant

    Great Article Austin…..I agree all the way

  • M Intellect

    I used to be a big Gilbert Arenas/Hibachi/Agent Zero fan but Gilbert Arenas saying he has done nothing wrong shows how smart he isn’t and how irresponsible is.

    Even though I personally question why word even got from the Wizard’s locker room to TMZ, his actions but more
    so his considered statement, saying he did nothing wrong highlights his lack of a sense of duty to the NBA. You can kinda see from all the shit he’s done and does, IE. Halo, Befriends random fans, plays ball in the hood pick-ups, general public accessibility, etc… that dude doesn’t really understand his superstar-status.

    If this was in his house with his friends, not high-profile colleagues, it wouldn’t have been anything. But it isn’t and he can’t understand that.

    How you really see he doesn’t understand this is that he made the gun-cracking signs to his team-mates after this shit. Even though the DC Gun Problem was around before this incident and kids won’t start bucking directly because of it, it gives another example of a successful, financially stable, black male running with guns, perpetuating the notion that if your a black man, you have to be able to hold it down whether your in the hood or rich and successful.

    It’s a shame but if you look at how they handled their actions, Gilbert Arenas has become Kanye West with a jumpshot.

  • Keith

    i think the artice summed it all up. great read. I’m glad somebody managed to take a less knee-jerk reaction and actually give this some thought.

  • isotope

    Great read. Was i the only one who assumed Austin was white?

    Heckler, the similarity is that though the majority of the NBA players are minorities; the majority of those who control their salary are white. Thats where some might argue racism plays in. I don’t think so but I’m really tired of african american athletes or celebrities making fool of themselves in public. 1. Kids look up to them and will try to imitate 2. It strengthens the negative stereotype people have of AAs and it helps make the bigots feel more justified with their nonsense.

    I wonder if someone has done a report comparing the number of white athletes that get in major trouble to non-whites.

  • Ant

    Truthfully, I don’t feel for Gilbert at all..Like Austin said, he had a chance to clear it up and he went and did the finger thing…and played on it. He gets suspended and rightfully so. This dude makes all this money, even if you made a bet..did it have to be that serious to brandish a gun because of it. It’s dumb to me and if it was Brad Miller or JJ Reddick who did it, would they have been dumb enough to point their fingers as guns and say it was part of a prank?? Come on….makes no sense to me that a millionaire like him would do something so stupid…I like Gil too but that was a dumb decision he made and now he has to deal with it….Take it and move on! I bet he won’t flash a gun anymore…

  • M Intellect

    Heckler – Minorities are the majority of players but still the minority when it comes to administrative decision makers. That is the telling point.

    Without inciting an e-based racial riot, the minority players simply bring the ‘physicality’ of the L, whilst the white supremos make the decisions and pull the strings.

    The irony of this is in two questions, what would qualify you to take an administrative position in the NBA better then playing experience?

    And, if this is the case, as there are a majority of ethnic players, why are there not a majority of ethnic official ambassadors?

  • SWAT

    @heckler-as usual…fuck off…moving on…

    @ austin-wow! damn good article fam. u hit it right on the head. stern was on some lets wait and see and gil just kept pushin him, testing the limits as a child would a parent. “how much can i get away with?”

    remember last yr whn carl landry was shot in downtown houston…wht bothered me so much about that was that it happened in our backyard! the “me first” mentality tht has taken over the youth is disgusting. the false sense of entitlement amazes me-like lets get dude because he should hv known better than to drive thru my block. no one ever tried to jack mad max, otis thorpe, or damn even matt bullard back in the day. and then the league just swept all of it under the rug-“oh carl is fine. let’s all move on.” no one really even spoke about the violence that is going on, not just in h-town, but across the country. ur right austin-someone needs to stand up.

  • yoda

    gill brought guns in arena then made fun out of it. he is not being punished because he is black, but because he made a mess. like ab said, if he tried to man up, i don’t think nba would be so harsh to punish him, or at least they would wait till officials say what happened. if b. miller or jj did this, and behaved like gil did, they would face same punishment. after all, arenas wasn’t one of bad boys of nba, i think nba liked him and his blogs/antics…because he was crowd pleaser. if this mess made any of players with getho thug reputation, then you COULD make a case for racial issue.

  • Seany T

    Irrespective of race I think the media/Commissoner Sterns reaction to any Nba star pulling this stunt would have been the same. They’d have to be severely punished whatever their race, it just so happens it was a high profile black athlete. I think the reaction/punishment would have been the same if this was Steve Nash or Dirk Nowitzki. Totally agree with Austins comment on how Arenas could have handled the damage control. He is supposed to be a leader on that team and he’s shown none of that with those actions and handling the aftermath. Either he’s had bad advice or just wasn’t listening, but he’s only harmed himself. I’d also like to know how this story even leaked in the first place, someone told tales and now the whole organisation is gonna suffer. The Wiz should just ship everybody out and start over.

  • Eric

    Another silly story about how the actions of an entertainer is causing harm to inner city barbarians. Yawn. Yes, kids are getting killed in many American cities, but the slaughter has nothing to do with guns. In those major cities where these deaths are occuring there is a profound and deep disregard for the sanctity of life. Blaming guns for violence makes about as much sense as saying wet side walks cause rain.

    And assuming that the problem of violence exists in the inner city because some superstar entertainer won’t speak out is absurd and insulting. The whole idea that people are sitting around waiting for instructions from the famous on what path to walk is funny and pathetic. Contrary to what it seems so many believe the “influence” and “power” of celebrities is damn near non existent. Entertainers have no moral authority whatsoever. And only fools assume they do.

    The problem with the ghetto class is that they and their enablers spend to much time demanding that someone either fall from the sky with angels to save them,or travel from the belt way on a donkey to save them,or jump out of a limo to save them from theirselves. The ghetto class doesn’t need more empty and symbolic posturing, they need a moral code that will allow them to respect not only their lives but other peoples lives as well. Humanity and dignity is what they lack. Not celebrities posing as leaders.

  • gogetit

    You guys have got to be kidding me. The whites pull all the strings, yea. If they didn’t, what would half of these players be doing??? Answer that honestly….

    Most of the players in the L are minorities. We established that. They are all getting paid a TON of money to play a kids game. They should be soooo thankful. But instead, we somehow try to blame the white owners, corperate executives, and league officials for poor player conduct. I know I sound repetative, but the excuses drive me crazy. These players, black, white, asian, whatever…have the world by the balls. If they decide to ruin that by behaving like thugs and gangsters, thats their fault and problem. Dont take the easy way out and play the race card.

  • http://dime eyes

    @AB & Michael M. What is your race? Do either of you guys know the whole story yet? No one does so everybody as of know is overreacting. He wasn’t waving them on the court. No one was in jeopardy of getting hurt or they both would have been in jail or convicted already. If the team made a joke of it. Obviously it was a joke. No way would a group of people downplay it like that for what?

    @Soul Brova & Poppi Gee
    Even if the players gave 1/2 their salaries away it wouldn’t be documented. Everyone know the N.B.A. cares is for publicity. I can tell you most players are failed by the SYSTEM. All valid points & discussions. Talk doesn’t mean anything. Obama can’t do it by himself & he still doesn’t have the final say. They know what the problem is but choose to create illusions to keep us right where they have us. All the talking,seminars,conferences,rallys. Look & feel great they uplift. Until the change is made from the top for equality. It will always be a racial & social divide. You can’t mask that. Even if Gil said & did all the right things. People would have still called for his head-GIVE ME A BREAK. It’s embedded from generation to generation. It’s not going anywhere for a while. Basketball & N.B.A. is heading the same route as the economy. Going to come crashing down on their heads & WHY. GREED & STUPIDITY.

    How is hunting a sport & legal? Why is horseback riding a sport & televised? Even the other sport when they collar animals. Yet Dog fighting is the worse thing on the planet(Michael Vick) Do you see how the N.B.A. treated Michael Jordan. I mean how they really treated him. Look at all of the colored legends that seek job oppurtunities. How are they projected. What positions do they hold. Do cops racially profile? Can you expunge your records in that case? Is sorry or money compensations for improper convicitions. You need good credit now a days to get a job. Who has the worst credit in the world? You have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to go to college. Your guaranteed a loan that will be multiplied by interest & not guaranteed a job.

    The problem is everyone for the most part is okay with the way things are now. It’s not globally. The World is messed up & people are messed. You can’t paint a different picture with no media brush or voice. Remember you put any animal in a certain envirioment. It will adapt,entrench, & act accordingly. It’s not the people,kids,etc. If we want change the powers that be have to implement it. Does anybody see that happening in the near future. Why is it a rough neighborhood to begin with. Why are public schools education almost like daycare in another sense? The curriculum or bare standars gap between catholic/private & public schools is so wide. It’s where too much of our future or any underprivelaged person isn’t given a fair shot for anything.

  • Name (required)

    this was a great read, kinda exactly what iv been thinking, except more eloquently put.
    i think Stern was all set to give Gill the benefit of the doubt and wait until the Legal process was over before handing out his own punishments, but Gill fucked up, showed no understanding of what he actually did and behaved like a fool.

  • http://dime eyes

    It was a great piece. Why though? It’s like the 8th Die Hard or Lebron inventing the powder toss. It been said 100xtimes over. What do you think the reference in Law Abiding Citizen was made? You guys also know he wasn’t really calling Stern mean. It was meant to be a buffer to be somewhat human in his decision. Like a puppet he reacted. The bait was tossed or whatever you want to call it. He jumped. I suppose Stern or the League may now come down hard authorities to make something stick. Gilbert has to be made as the villian or the only one wrong in this case. The word example should never be used. It just is a cover up or to save some face. Nothing has been resolved. It’s like no tint on the windows. Why? Next no aggresive head bopping while driving? No rims. No urban stations. No excessive seat reclining. No inner city kids driving expensive cars-It looks funny.

    Let’s just say after all the evidence he’s found not charged. SORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY- Better chance of the fat lady being skinny.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Eyes you typed “Talk doesn’t mean anything.” Actions do indeed speak louder than words, but that does not mean the words hold no value.

    Yes people have to take it upon themselves for what they do and decide but influence is a large part of most decisions.

    These players are looked up to and hold a major influence in regards to what they do and say. So yes it’s important that even if it means them just speaking up at least for what is right and correct that they do that.

    Cause (and I see it everyday) these kids are not only copying their moves on the court, but what they say, wear and many copy and will copy what they do.

    So even if it Gil simply could have said something to encourage, enfluence or convince someone that they don’t need guns, or to stop the violence or otherwise then that certainly is more helping towards the solution than the problem.

    So yes the conferences, rallys and talking is all important. Sure actions most def. have to be made, but don’t discount the influence and encouragement that comes for shared discussions and communication.

  • KnicksFan84

    Austin, that was without a doubt one of the best written posts I’ve seen from you!!!

    My own personal thoughts on Gilbert situation is this. To me, yes he used poor judgement, should have found a way as you stated to turn a negative into a positive. If anything even if there was no harm behind stunt, he should have just apologized for making the league/players/himself/family/team look bad period.

    Regardless, the way things are looking now, he’s definitely being targeted by everybody as people get high off bringing others down.

  • brado

    So if black athletes are modern day slaves because they work for the benefit of somebody else (mostly white executives) doesn’t that mean anybody who has a job and works for somebody is a slave? So the only people who aren’t slaves are those without jobs or self-employed. Anybody with a job works for the benefit of somebody else. You sale your talent/knowledge for money to somebody who can take that and make more money off of it. That’s life, not slavery.

    Also, maybe if athletes/celebrities were willing to forgo short term endorsement $ to promote a positive influence on the youth they would develop a bigger picture perspective and be less likely to be one of the many who find themselves bankrupt only a few years removed from retirement. This bigger picture would hopefully encourage them to save.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    @Swat (#20)—

    so whats your problem now bitch?
    you believe that race was a factor in giving Gilbert Arenas an indefinite suspension?

    because, thats all I said. Race did NOT play a factor.
    if you disagree, then enlighten me/us. you dumbfuck.

    and if not….then by all means….YOU fuckoff

  • control

    Great post Eric.

    Most of the people here are missing the issue. It isn’t about race, it’s about MONEY. Black, white, brown, yellow, green, it don’t mean shit to people who have money. It’s about using whoever you are to your advantage as much as possible as long as you can make money from them…the second they start to cost you money, the hammer drops.

    The NBA ain’t like other typical work places. 99% of people who bring a few guns to work and even as a joke tell one of their co-workers to “pick one” would be fired without a second thought.

    Gil could probably have gotten away with this, and avoided any major issues for his actions if he weren’t such an idiot when it came to how he handled himself after. The guy was fucking around with guns, there ain’t no good way to play that off as a fucking joke. ANYONE who has (or has family who has) been exposed to any gun violence is going to crucify ya for that. Gilberto just don’t seem to realize that guns ain’t fucking toys, even unloaded ones.

    Stern did what he was forced to do, if he had done anything different then it would have cost the league money…and that is unacceptable.

  • http://www.makeyourfreethrows.com Dan Dickau

    Like my man Delonte said “Hands down mans down.”

  • kevin k

    Best article I read from you Austin…

    Arenas, you are fucking me up in Fantasy…

  • jamestown

    Austin…Props…GREAT PIECE…

  • Hibachi

    What everyone is missing is that Arenas ALREADY has done a lot for the DC community and charity.

    “Arenas donated $100 for every point he scored in each home game during the 2006-07 season to local D.C. area schools, while Wizards team owner Abe Pollin matched that contribution for each away game. He also mentors a D.C. boy who lost his family in a fire at age 10. Arenas takes him shopping, bowling, got him a job as a ball boy for the Wizards, and acts as a brotherly figure towards him.”

    I guess we’ll forget all of that now because he made a silly mistake.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Kevin K I had to go ahead and let ya boy go in Fantasy, he was shooting my squad down too.

    Just wondering. It’s so many that are like “Color does not matter”. I understand it and get it.

    My question is color still being used as an excuse or reason in the scheme of things that much still?

    Also why does it offend some if they are along the lines of color does matter?

  • control


    Colour is used A LOT lately. I have even seen it in cases where it was white on white shit, and people are like “damn, if a black guy was involved, shit would have hit the FAN”.

    I just don’t understand how people expect to move past coloured lines when colour is the first thing brought up in ANY conversation…it’s like complaining that people are being shot, but being the first to pull and use a gun. Shit don’t make sense.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Thanks to everybody for the compliments and kind words.

    @Hibachi — You’re right, and I did forget to mention in the column that Arenas has done charity work in the D.C. area and done things beyond just writing a check. And while he’s generally been a man of the people (playing pickup ball at Barry Farms, where a lot of NBA players wouldn’t venture), I would like to see him take more of an active role in addressing the problems of violence in D.C. or even in his native California. But yeah, it would be unfair to say Gilbert doesn’t do any goodwill acts.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    control I see, I guess in my circle (mind you I am black) I am not hearing it come up as much.

    I was just wondering about other circles people live in.

    Indeed if it is being used as an excuse for inappropriate means then that is just sad and wrong.

  • control


    Since I have moved to the USA, the place where I don’t really run into needless mentioning of colour and race is the place where I am exposed to the most diversity: the basketball court. I’ll play with anyone, anywhere, at anytime, as long as it’s a solid and hard played game. So I’ve been around to the ‘hoods’ of Detroit, as well as played a lot in the suburbs, and it seems to be where a person’s game speaks more than how they look.

    It’s a damn shame the rest of the world couldn’t just take that same spirit of equality. My point is, that racism or prejudice will never disappear as long as people have an overwhelming need to make it the cause of every problem that comes up, regardless of it being a factor or not.

  • http://dime eyes

    @11The W community doesn’t accept any B players for the most part they tolerate because they have to.
    @15Hold it down,Playing ball in the hood. Do you actually know what that means-It’s actually one of the greatest thing a person from their respective place can do for a real fan not fantasy owner(Are you guys mad from a Fantasy perspective as well. To also befriend random people & have accesibility to those who otherwise would only know the person for what & how the media chose to portray him. That’s the total opposite of a jerk & someone who actually cares about the fan. See how your damned if you do and if you don’t

    @17Who is the magnifying glass on comperatively? DUH
    @21 You really think they wouldn’t have been so harsh when TMZ,Al Sharpton & Oprah texting David Stern said so LOL. Obama couldn’t stand up for Gil if he was innocent & was a family member or distantttt cousin-he would get impeached(Also how can we impeach Stern? Just asking?
    @24 When you say don’t pull the race card you. You know automatically we know what your not. F.Y.I. For the future.

    Look at the whole picture from both sides if you can. Meaning what if it were actually the other way around. Also take some time before we’re all so quick to judge. We as human people can be wrong in our opinions & reactions to a lot of the comments posted. I respect & take into account each & every comment. We’ve all have said & done somethings(Skeletons) we’d regret & probably be ashamed of to admit too. When you start of by saying a dumb millionaire? He has to be smarter than you to be able to awared that amount for whatever it is he/she is doing 1st off. A lot of it stems from jealousy and the underlying hate & disregard some have for different people in general. That goes for any race.

    You have to begin with. If you weren’t a Wizards fan to begin with you’d hate him just because he’s on the opposing team. Add to the fact that you’re a Wizard & the frustration of not being patient for him to heal in the 1st place. His knee injury reminds me of Grant Hill- We got on him while all he was trying to do was get back to what he love. He also rushed back for the same fans that trash him now. Isn’t that wrong. This is the same issue I brought a while ago. The N.B.A. as a whole should do a better job of doctors & training staffs for all of the teams. Shouldn’t you protect & want your investment to be in tip top shape mentally & physically. Does anyone know what Gilbert is going through after the alleged Shaq & Wife incident. He has kids too that read. He bleeds red. If he’s stupid. So are most of us rushing to judgement. I’m a very opinionated person as most of us on this site are. Don’t take none of what I’m saying the wrong. Let it sink in and get the real message. We have to actually want to acknowledge the root of the problem to fix anything. A lot of these players want to do good. But doing good & being right is different in everyone’s eyes. We are not the Law. The Law is compiled of human beings who all act of instincts and can be swayed both negatively,positively, & most importantly & powerfully. POLITICALLY. WHICH RUNS EVERYTHING IN LIFE

    Lets also stop testing animals. Especially rats. I have them as pets. I’m trying to start an activist group to raise hell. Look for the picket signs

  • http://dime eyes

    Also Austin pretty neat with the black/white photo of Gilbert-WE GOT IT. You know some people smile when they cry & vice versa.

  • justlovethegame

    Great article, definitely gets one thinking.

  • http://dime eyes

    @control & Gee
    I hear you guys but you can’t just erase history. You have to move forward. It’s a lot harder with all the bricks & obstacles still masked in today’s society. Political bullshi* Alright I’m taking you guys advice. I’m not from the inner city/hood & I didn’t go to public shcool. I can be whatever it is I want to be. Now that Obama is president. Funny I want to be a N.B.A. commish,owner,or N.B.A. coach. Even if I had all the qualifications you guys think I’d get a fair shot?

    All the talking but the important don’t care to listen. Trust me their DEAF ON PURPOSE. Race will keep coming up as long as it exists. I kind of liked it before. It’s like being phony. I hate when someone smiles in my face & pretends to like me eventhough. I know deep down how they view & will continue to. We’re held to a much higher standard. It’s worse when you have money. It’s like forget where you were raised or if you were adopted or brought up in a shelter. Even if you never had a mother or family that actually loved you for you.

    Disregard all the people trying to exploit you & family members that you know & see suffer in more ways than many can imagine. Toughen and put on a front for the camera. Your paid now PUNKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!! Why do people really think Dave Chappele isn’t on the air anymore. A lot of his comedy had alot of truth in it. So did Eddie Murphy,Richard Pryor & so on. It’s only acceptable when put into joke context. This is a real messed up world & I’m almost afraid of what it’s going to look like in the future. I almost don’t want to raise a kid in this madness. Not only is Life not Fair. It’s really a free for all. Every man for themselves and we’re not even included in the race. How can we win?

  • control


    There IS a glass ceiling out there, but it’s based on one colour and one colour only: green. The people who hold a majority of the money keep it a nice and tight elite club, even guys making $100 million playing sports don’t get into that club, and it ain’t because of their colour.

    Straight out, the world sucks and it’s who you are and who you know that will get you ahead as much as any good qualities or skills you may possess.

    I asked what level of education you have so I can understand where you are coming from, which would make it easier to understand what you are saying. You obviously put effort into your posts because your posts are pretty long, but you don’t seem to be putting the effort into making the message clear. Though you may have a good message, and I doubt it’s all that different than mine, you come across poorly due to shit like CAPS LOCK BROKEN, horrible grammar, ADHD as far as skipping around what you are talking about, etc. If you wanted to make a point, put the effort into making it clear so that it’s easier, and not harder to understand.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    @ eyes
    If everyone is deaf should that stop people from speaking the truth? Malcom X – “Our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary.” A dead horse must be beaten. “…bridge or tunnel (don’t) give a f**k! how i come across” – Joe Budden Quotations for quotes to remember what is said. Value homey. If I put it in braille you gotta feel it right? We all gotta eat but some choose what to eat and some have no choice in what to be fed, so the cookin gotta be right. SHOOT IF YOU HEAR ME KNOCKIN LET ME IN!

    I’m just saying lol, typing rather.

  • Doc

    This just in….from the Washington Post’s breaking news blog:

    “Arenas charged in gun case

    Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas is charged with carrying a pistol without a license outside home or business, a felony.”