By Gregory Moore
It’s been quite a few days since the Gilbert Arenas incident has come and gone and like all news items, the story is pretty much dead in the water.
Yet in reality if you are a sports fan you don’t want this story to die a news cycle death; you want it to always be on the front lines of combating social ills in this country.
For every person who thinks that your second amendment rights will get trampled upon because of so many gun laws, there are equal if not more individuals who find out the tragedy of bad ownership.
In the sports world, where the majority of the athletes are minorities, you want someone to handle a topic like gun ownership in a fashion that sends a strong message home about responsible ownership.
For Billy Hunter, the executive director of the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA), there is no better time than the present to do so.
Hunter has said that the union’s resources will be available to Arenas during his process of finding out what his legal standing will be and what his standing will be in the league.
I get what he is trying to do and there is nothing wrong with standing by a member in their time of need. But what I don’t get is why Hunter and others in the union do not realize the severity of this situation that one of their members put an entire league in.
This goes beyond one person having an illegal weapon in his possession; it literally goes to the perception that so many union members have on the ‘coolness’ of having a felony on their record.
To say that the NBA still has the premise of the National Gangstas Association is not too far off the mark and each and every member in the NBPA should be appalled that such a reference still rings crystal clear to the public.
Yet I haven’t seen anything of the sort as an initiative come forth from Hunter’s office and that’s troubling.
As long as there has been a rookie symposium, I am quite sure that there has been a topic about gun ownership and other related topics. I am quite sure that someone has told these young men that making sure your reputation is solid and crime free is paramount to latter success in life.
Yet that just doesn’t seem to curtail anyone who goes out and does something feloniously stupid.
A sports blog entry was made 2005 by Michael McCann, an assistant professor of law at Mississippi School of Law. McCann’s post, titled “NBA Players That Get In Trouble With the Law: Do Age and Education Level Matter?” was posted on July 20, 2005.
As I scrolled down the list, I saw Arenas’ name was second from the top with the same damn charge he just pled guilty to.
Now maybe Hunter doesn’t think that is important; after all it was four years ago when Arenas pled guilty to the charge then. But it’s important to me and it should be important to everyone else; the union included.
Maybe that’s just the issue at hand; the union doesn’t believe it is their job to step in and tell members what they can and cannot do.
Maybe not but let’s get real about the situation; why would youwant to work with someone who does not care about the safety of others?
If Billy Hunter can answer me that question in an honest fashion, then maybe I can buy the Kool Aid he and others are selling.
But right now I think it is time for this union to realize that a public relations nightmare is on their front door step and it needs to be dealt with in a fashion that requires some honest talk, straight answers and most importantly, tough love for those who fail to realize the seriousness of the situation.