Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts

Friday, June 2, 2017

No Justice in Happy Valley

If you're like me, and I know I am, you can't believe they still have a football program at Penn State:

A former president of Penn State and two other former university administrators were each sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to alert authorities to a 2001 allegation against ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a decision that enabled the now-convicted serial predator to continue molesting boys. 

"Why Mr. Sandusky was allowed to continue to the Penn State facilities is beyond me," Judge John Boccabella said. 

"All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to (Sandusky's) crimes when they had a chance to do so," the judge said. 

Ex-president Graham Spanier, 68, got a sentence of 4 to 12 months, with the first two to be spent in jail and the rest under house arrest. 

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier walks to the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, March 20, 2017. Matt Rourke / AP

Former university athletic director Tim Curley, 63, received a sentence of 7 to 23 months, with three in jail. Former vice president Gary Schultz, 67, was sentenced to 6 to 23 months, with two months behind bars. 

The judge also criticized the actions of the late head football coach, Joe Paterno, who like the other administrators failed to alert child-welfare authorities or police to the 2001 complaint, but was never charged with a crime.

These are slaps on the wrist. These are sentences designed to make old men comfortable. The punishment here does not fit any of the crimes committed. Oh well. It's not like anyone's going to atone for their mistakes or man up when it comes to Penn State. Just another day in Happy Valley.

The precedent here has been set, and this is why they still play football at Baylor--you can commit any kind of sex crime you want against a vulnerable person and the law isn't going to touch a Division I university. Some institutions are so rotted out from within and packed with filth and treasure that they simply won't be held accountable anymore.

Monday, May 9, 2016


The first known case of Jerry Sandusky abusing children happened in 1971, just two years after he was hired as a coach by Joe Paterno:

Penn State's legal settlements with Jerry Sandusky's accusers cover alleged abuse dating to 1971, which was 40 years before his arrest, the university said Sunday in providing the first confirmation of the time frame of abuse claims that have led to big payouts.

The disclosure came as Penn State president Eric Barron decried newly revealed allegations that former football coach Joe Paterno was told in 1976 that Sandusky had sexually abused a child and that two assistant coaches witnessed either inappropriate or sexual contact in the late 1980s. Paterno, who died in 2012, said that the first time he received a complaint against Sandusky was in 2001.

Barron said the accusations were unsubstantiated and suggested that the university is being subjected unfairly to what he called rumor and innuendo.

Responding to questions about the president's statement and claims against the school, university spokesman Lawrence Lokman told The Associated Press and ESPN's Josh Moyer that he could confirm that the earliest year of alleged abuse covered in Penn State's settlements is 1971.

ESPN goes to great lengths to push that date--1971. Good God, forty years of being able to abuse human beings and no remorse, nothing out of these people. Why is that important? That date changes the narrative. It makes things that went away come back with a vengeance.  It opens up the whole process again because it was widely believed that Sandusky did not abuse children until the 1990s. There's a whole other aspect to this that has to be addressed, and that is the institutional indifference to human suffering.

In 1971, Paterno could and should have been fired if he had covered up Sandusky's crime. As a coach, Paterno was not a legend by any stretch of the imagination. He was definitely a winning coach--two Orange Bowls and two perfect seasons in the late 1960s will give you some power at a university, but he didn't win a National Championship until 1982. After that, he would have been untouchable. In 1971, he would have been a difficult man to fire, but it could have happened if the scandal had blown up that year and if he had played a role in covering it up.

Is the NCAA going to do anything? I sure hope so. This is unfinished business that should have informed how the school was punished initially. This new revelation makes it seem like they got off light, doesn't it?

What the University President and everyone else seems to miss is that you need to stop blaming the victims. You need to put that strategy to rest because there has been a conviction. There are no allegations anymore--they've been proven in a court of law. I think what they fear are millions more in settlements and more sanctions for the football program. I think that they have to purge college football of Paterno's records and they have to make damned sure they have institutional control over the athletic department.

We're left with what might have happened if they had dealt with Sandusky when they knew about him. There is a remote possibility that he might have gone to jail--unlikely given the times. He might have been dealt with as a problem if he had been fired but that would have simply displaced the tragedy. Instead, he rode Paterno's coattails all the way to local prominence and his own victim grooming farm, also known as his Second Mile charity.

Just when you thought the whole thing couldn't get any sicker, everything turns. Is there any way to hold Penn State University accountable? If not, then we're all part of the problem.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Norwood Teague, Chick Magnet

Amelia Rayno has a powerful piece in the StarTribune. What follows is an account of sexual harassment by University of Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague:

So I agreed to have that drink. But this December night was different. Teague asked me about my longtime boyfriend, as he often did. My mistake was acknowledging that we had just broken up. The switch flipped. Suddenly, in a public and crowded bar, Teague tried to throw his arm around me. He poked my side. He pinched my hip. He grabbed at me. Stunned and mortified, I swatted his advances and firmly told him to stop. He didn’t.

“Don’t deny,” he said, “our chemistry.”

I told him that he was drastically off base, that my only intention in being there was as a reporter – to which he replied: “You’re all strictly business? Nothing else?”

I walked out. He followed me. I hailed a cab. He followed me in, grabbing at my arm and scooting closer and closer in the dark back cabin until I was pressed against the door. I told him to stop. I told him it was not OK. He laughed. When I reached my apartment, I vomited.

Later that night he texted: “Night strictly bitness.’’

The incident wasn’t the first with Teague.

When he first arrived at the university we would communicate via texts, mostly about athletics. But over time the tone of the messages slowly changed, particularly at night.  He would pepper work talk with comments that at first felt weird and eventually unacceptable. Once, he called me “cute.” Another night, after I declined meeting for a drink, he asked me if I was wearing pajamas.

I think it's safe to say that Norwood Teague has a bit of a charisma problem and a whole lot of personal issues that allow him to think himself as being above his accusers. Clearly, he believed himself capable of seducing the ladies and carrying on like a lothario. That crashed when the legal process finally kicked in. His sexual harassment of women has been going on long enough to make you wonder how this jackass got hired in the first place. He should have been fired a long time ago.

Go read the whole piece. And you can look for a photo of Miss Rayno on your own. I could post one here, and we could do a side by side comparison, and it still wouldn't add up to anything because blaming the victim is wrong and always will be wrong. Rayno is a drop-dead gorgeous young woman who, by virtue of her job as a journalist, had to put up with this sleazebag in order to maintain access and do her job. Her looks don't matter because taking one look at Teague should tell you all you need to know about his inability to treat people like a professional.

Powerful mean who look like Teague blame their victims for everything and get away with it far too often.

God, what a sickening story.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harvey Updyke Needs to Go Away

One of the first shots from the Toomer's Corner Webcam...

I have to say, I really don't care what happens to this sick old bastard:

His "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect" is ridiculous, and it speaks volumes to the man's inability to admit what he did was wrong. You have a 64 year-old man who made a childish, twisted mistake and instead of being adult enough to own up to it, he's flailing through life, terrorizing people.

What a disgrace.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Who Really Speaks For the Paterno Family?

The legacy of Joe Paterno is, effectively, destroyed. Whatever the report says, the man demonstrated that he valued his football program over all else, especially the rape of children.

It's interesting that Sports Illustrated allows itself to be used in this manner. Every quote referenced to "the family" refers back to the "Paterno" family, and to some mythical idea that the name Paterno still has credibility. The mouthpiece of the Paterno family has traditionally been Scott Paterno, and we know he has an agenda and no credibility.

I don't want to hear any of this nonsense about "forgive and forget" and "let bygones be bygones." I don't have much faith in Louis Freeh, either. But I do believe that anyone who thinks that Paterno was a good guy who was wronged by others hasn't been paying attention.

Where the hell is the NCAA in all of this? Why are they not at the forefront of determining what should be done about all of the victories won by Paterno since he decided to cover up the fact that his top assistant coach was raping children on Penn State property?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Adrian Peterson Is Going to Buy His Freedom

You can look at this case and speculate endlessly, but, really, what will get Adrian Peterson off is money, and nothing more.

Money for his lawyer, money for the witnesses, money for the fines, money for the bail, money to make people shut the hell up.

I wonder if there is a videotape. That might make all the difference in the world if there is one.

The Minnesota Vikings franchise is one of the worst ever in the sport of football. It has been the home of criminals, rapists, thieves, lowlifes, thugs, bigamists, sex cruise maniacs, drunken stumblebums, and whatever other horror you'd like to throw in there. The club should have been moved to Los Angeles before someone finally debauches a toll road or performs an outrage upon the person of a duck and earns the dubious honor of having every single solitary law in existence broken by one of the players on the team.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bleeding Dennis Rodman Dry

If it was "all about the kids," Dennis Rodman wouldn't be where he is now. If it was all about his kids, her kids, those kids, some kids--Dennis Rodman would have taken a moment ten years ago and he would have figured out how to take care of his family obligations.

Instead, he has partied away millions and his health and now he is on the verge of having nothing. This does not excuse the fact that the women who are claiming child support are pursuing amounts well in excess of what is needed to raise a child. Their lifestyle choices mirror Rodman's. You cannot sustain the same lifestyle forever because professional sports careers do not last forever.

What is destroying former players like Rodman is not so much mismanagement but a delusional kind of thinking. At age 35, Rodman was making millions; at age 51, he is not making millions. It would stand to reason that reality has to take hold. A man making next to nothing is not going to be able to pay tens of thousands of dollars in child support.

If Rodman had set aside a few million dollars in a kind of protected trust, and then arranged for it to kick in and pay a reasonable stipend for his children each month, that fund would probably last for twenty years or more. It would eventually become depleted, but it would have created security and stability for his kids. Instead, he cashed out his NBA retirement for pennies on the dollar and left himself with nothing to give his kids.

It should be mandatory for professional athletes to create funds to pay out a kind of secondary pension in this manner. A portion of their income should be diverted into a kind of protected trust that can pay out a living wage or a child support payment or even money for a rainy day. Why it isn't is something I'll never understand.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life Skills and NFL Superstars

As fun as it might be to watch Chad Ochocinco carp about being robbed, there are two main points here. One, if he has lost his driver's license, why is he behind the wheel of his vehicle? And, two, why would anyone feel sorry for a multimillionaire who has lost a Starbucks gold card?

There are people in this country who would, literally, go under if they lost that much money at once; apparently, it's a social media joke for Ochocinco, who simply has no life skills and no perspective. His agent should have gotten between him and his decision to make light of being ripped off. Granted, this is the off-season, but still. What is this guy focused on? Lemon loafs?

Social media has revealed far too much about far too many professional athletes.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What's in the Water in Arkansas?

As bad as this looks for Arkansas, at least they're not Penn State, right? No team in college football has had as bad of a year as Penn State, by a long shot.


Football programs go through good times and bad times; lean times and times of lawlessness and debauchery. It all comes down to whether or not they can get control of this team and convince the players that if they want a shot at an NFL payday to calm it down and keep the criminal activity at a minimum.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What's Going on at Permian High School?

Guerdwich Montimere, in the white uniform, playing basketball for Permian High School
Officials say a 22-year-old man accused of posing as a high school student and basketball star in West Texas was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexual assault.
Sgt. Gary Duesler of the Ector County Sheriff's Office said Guerdwich Montimere was charged with suspicion of sexual assault, a second-degree felony, and was being held in the Ector County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
No additional details were available.
Thursday, Montimere was released on $7,500 bond about five hours after his arrest on a felony charge of tampering with government documents.
Montimere originally was arrested Tuesday on a misdemeanor of failure to identify himself to a police officer. Permian High School officials say he admitted then that he wasn't 16-year-old sophomore Jerry Joseph.
The alleged victim, a 16-year-old girl, reported on Wednesday that in August 2009, when she was 15, she was involved in a relationship with Montimere under the pretense that he was Joseph. The girl reported to authorities that she and Montimere had a sexual relationship at a residence in East Odessa.
Now, as I said earlier, there's no way this homeless 22 year-old man could have, or should have, been able to start playing high school basketball at Permian without getting some sort of help. Help getting registered for school. Help getting a place to live. Help getting clothes, and shoes to play in, and all of the other things that go with being a high school student. What is the economic incentive for a kid to play basketball in high school? He should be in college, right? But he fakes his way back into high school? What were his grades? Did he go to class? Somehow, playing against smaller, weaker, and younger kids just doesn't ring completely true here. There had to be some economic incentive for a homeless kid to play high school basketball. And, why as a 10th grader? Why not as a senior, which would have been easier to get away with?
Hey, charity is a beautiful thing. But this kid is getting railroaded. He's taking the fall for the malfeasance or incompetence of a number of adults whose job it is to look after kids. Or, win state championships. Who the hell knows anymore?
Here are some pertinent details:
Guerdwich MontimereSuspicions about Montimere's identity first arose when three Florida basketball coaches familiar with the player recognized him at an amateur tournament in Little Rock, Ark. in April.

ECISD officials initially rejected the allegation and a judge granted coach Danny Wright guardianship so that Montimere would be allowed to remain in school. The district said Montimere had claimed to be an illegal immigrant from Haiti with the name of Jerry Joseph.
After continued investigations, ECISD officials, police and ICE agents confirmed Montimere's true identity Tuesday, and he confessed to the scheme after being confronted, officials said.
Montimere graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2007. Authorities determined he was not an illegal immigrant but rather a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti.
He first enrolled at ECISD as a ninth grader in February of 2009, having showed officials a Haitian birth certificate indicating he was 15, Adkins said.

At the time, Montimere told school district staff he was living with a half-brother in the dorm of a local university, Adkins said, but he later admitted the man he had stayed with was a friend.
Do you think that judge was a booster? I don't know. I read that and my bullshit detector goes off. He intercedes and grants the coach guardianship. How many games were left to play in the season? Was that really in the best interests of everyone involved? Or did this ensure that they could close ranks, ride out the season, and figure out a way to make this go away? Is someone going to look at this judge and his decision? I hope so.
Really, do you think for one second that a men's basketball coach, and a high school educator, and all of the people who work at that school, and the administrators of that school, can't tell the difference between a 22 year-old man and a 16 year-old kid?
Did the tattoos on his inner arm cause any warning bells to go off? Or, perhaps the rather hinky living arrangements? Or, the fact that he presented a birth certificate that probably wasn't anywhere near being real or valid? Or, perhaps the fact that he doesn't look like a 16 year-old kid?
If this young man is truly guilty of fooling all of those adults, then those adults have no business taking care of the educational needs of children. Period. End of story.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Childish

Anyone can desecrate a flag if their team loses, but here's the story of a couple of "fans" who simply couldn't handle the fact that their team won and they couldn't deal with it like adults:
A celebration of Canada’s gold medal hockey victory over the United States in February may have two Canadian residents of California facing criminal charges of vandalism and flag desecration.

The La Quinta, California, Police Department said Monday it has asked the Riverside County district attorney to file misdemeanor charges against Ryan Smith, 25, of Bermuda Dunes, and Matt Seifert, 26, of Palm Desert.

After the Canadian national team defeated the U.S. 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game in Vancouver on February 28, police say Smith and Seifert went to the top of desert mountain, removed an American flag that had been placed there to honor the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and replaced it with a Canadian flag.

Robert C. Sterling Jr., whose mother erected the flag after 9/11, told The Desert Sun newspaper he found a torn U.S. flag buried under rocks at the site.

According to The Desert Sun report, a Riverside County sheriff’s detective who led the investigation said last month that the Canadian men were remorseful when told of the reason the U.S. flag was erected at the site.

It's sad when a detective has to get involved in a victory celebration gone horribly wrong. This kind of thing goes back and forth between U.S. and Canadian fans, and it got old a long time ago. Why can't people just grow up?

Friday, April 16, 2010

What a Great Fan of the Game

College Football Fan FAIL

Oh, my:

A New Jersey man is facing charges after police say he intentionally vomited on an 11-year-old girl and her father in the stands during a Phillies game.

Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Clemmens, of Cherry Hill, N.J., was arraigned Friday on charges stemming from his behavior at Wednesday night's Phillies-Nationals game.

Police say Clemmens made himself vomit on an off-duty police captain and his daughter after a companion was kicked out for unruly behavior.

Easton police Capt. Michael Vangelo says he saw Clemmens put his fingers down his throat. Philadelphia police say Clemmens also punched Vangelo and vomited on an arresting officer.

Clemmens is in custody on charges including assault and harassment. Bail is $12,000. His listed phone number is disconnected.

Sounds like another winner. It's too bad that a handsome, up and coming young fellow like this has to get caught by Johnny Law having a harmless night out. Throwing up on someone else's kid is what nowadays? No biggie?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Close Call For Ben Roethlisberger

Do you think he'll change his ways now?
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not face charges after a college student accused him of sexually assaulting her at a nightclub last month, authorities said Monday.

"Therefore there will be no arrests made nor criminal prosecution against Mr. Roethlisberger," Bright said.

The woman told an officer Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her early March 5 at the Capital City night club, where he was drinking with friends shortly after his 28th birthday.

Bright said the investigation showed the woman was heavily intoxicated that night. She and her sorority sisters had met Roethlisberger at a different bar earlier in the night, and he invited them into a VIP area at the Capital City club and ordered them shots. When the woman walked down a hallway to a small bathroom, Roethlisberger followed her.

That's as good as calling Roethlisberger a complete and utter douchebag in public. All of the passes I have given him in the past are mistakes on my part; this young man has a character issue, and I am thankful for one thing: the franchise he plays for deals with character issues as well as any franchise in all of professional sports.

This is really a sad day for the image of the NFL and the players who play the game. Roethlisberger is an elite athlete, and a tremendous talent. He's already in possession of more than most players ever see in a full career; too bad his ten cent head can't appreciate what he's desperately trying to piss away.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gilbert Has to Serve His Time

Maybe it's me, but I don't think three months in jail is enough for Gilbert Arenas:
When Gilbert Arenas appeared at a charity event a few weeks ago, no amount of smiles and hugs could hide the underlying tension surrounding the next big date on his calendar.

"So that's what everybody's waiting for," Arenas said. "March 26, huh?"

The fateful date has arrived.

The Washington Wizards three-time All-Star point guard will be sentenced Friday in D.C. Superior Court on one felony count of violating the District of Columbia's strict gun laws. Judge Robert E. Morin will decide whether Arenas does jail time or gets probation.

The prosecution and defense teams stated their cases earlier this week in voluminous filings. It's all far beyond anything Arenas imagined on that December morning when he says he brought four guns to the locker room to play a prank on a teammate.

Prosecutors want Arenas to go to jail for at least three months. They point out that he lied repeatedly about why the guns were in the locker room, that he tried to cover up what happened, that he displayed a cavalier attitude about the whole affair, that he knew bringing guns into D.C. was illegal, and that he has a prior gun conviction.

What kind of message does that send to other players? I would have expected at least a year in jail, Washington D.C. being what it is, which is a playground for illegal weapons and home to a lot of gun violence. I don't think Arenas should be allowed to play in the NBA ever again. I think some mistakes bring with them some measure of forgiveness, but four guns in the locker room and then the lies that went with them? Sorry, that's a level of poor judgement which goes beyond the privilege of playing professional sports.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ben Roethlisberger Isn't Learning From Any of His Mistakes

There's nothing wrong with having fun, but when you're rich, famous, and known to be a bit of a party animal, you have to know when to control yourself:
Amber Hanley, a 21-year-old college student who met NFL star Ben Roethlisberger in a Georgia bar, says the Steeelers quarterback wanted more than a just a cute photo with the young co-ed, but she just rolled her eyes and moved on, earning a tongue lashing from Big Ben.

Later, she says, Roethlisberger was hitting hard on another girl.

Illegal, poor taste or just drunk fun?

Hanley's description of last Friday's events at the Capital City bar in Milledgeville, Ga., doesn't shed light on whether Roethlisberger sexually assaulted another woman during a night in which he visited several local bars. Police are now investigating the accusation made by a 20-year old student and the football player has denied it.

He really needs some sort of help, and not just of the legal kind. He needs someone to help him get off the path that he's on before he destroys his career. I have defended him in the past, but how do you defend a kid who is blotto? How do you defend a kid who is running around like a jackass in public?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It Was Sleazy in Tennessee

You know, Lane Kiffin sure owed them folks in Tennessee a whole lot, didn't he:
Lane Kiffin was behind the wheel of his leased Lexus in August when, the coach said, he fell asleep and crashed the car, a high-ranking University of Tennessee official confirmed to's Mark Schlabach on Tuesday.

Also, Kiffin told athletic director Mike Hamilton that he had been at the football complex for a late meeting that night and said that he was heading home when he got into the accident, according to the source.

Kiffin left Tennessee after only 14 months on the job to become coach at USC. An atmosphere of animosity in Knoxville has led to Internet and blog chatter about his actions during his time working for Tennessee.

Hamilton interviewed Tennessee assistant football coaches to corroborate Kiffin's whereabouts that night, and one assistant confirmed having seen the coach in the athletic offices at approximately midnight. The accident occurred in the early morning hours. Tennessee officials said the time between Kiffin's last being seen in the offices and the crash was unaccounted for. The university did not pay for the repairs to the damaged car, according to the source.

So, it's all good right? Would have been news back in August, though. Instead, it's news today. And today *ain't* August:
Earlier in the day, WVLT-TV in Knoxville reported that Andy White, an employee of a Lexus dealership in Knoxville, confirmed that a Lexus leased to Kiffin was involved in a one-car accident.

White did not specify the date of the incident, where it happened or who was driving the vehicle, which was leased to Kiffin through the coach's vehicle program for Tennessee men's and women's athletic teams.

White told the station: "The proper authorities were contacted and the vehicle was towed to our location. Coach Kiffin's insurance was contacted and promptly paid the claim."

Knox County Sheriff's office spokesperson Martha Dooley told the station there were no reports of any accident filed by Kiffin in 2009. Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk also told the station there were no reports of any accident filed by Kiffin in September or October.

That's what we call a "sleazy coverup" in virtually any walk of life. You get in a car that is leased to you, you fall asleep behind the wheel, you bang it up, and nothing happens to you. Your insurance pays it off, no one tells the cops. The only reason you're finding out about this now is because it is no longer in the interest of anyone at Tennessee to cover up the transgressions of one Mr. Lane Kiffin. That's about as ethical as you can get in the NCAA right now. The truth comes out--after the coach blows town for a better gig.

What? It's not like we're talking about a regular citizen here. We're talking about a football coach. There's no accountability for football coaches. They are Gods. We are mere mortals.

As the man said, move along folks, nothing to see here. So what if Lane Kiffin and his army of enablers and one crooked college football program after another comes and goes--it's not like we have a working sports media or ethical administrators and educators anymore, is it?

It's all a goddamned farce. Smash up a car, don't tell anyone, someone pays to fix it, no one says anything while the coach is still a university employee, keep it hushed up, and the cops are left to say whatever it is they say when they don't have any "records" of what happened.

So what? On to the next job.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Michael Wilbon's Argument Collapses

This seems passionate enough, and I can certainly find myself in agreement with Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post more often than not, but I think that when he tries to make this case:
We've gone too far now, the way we always go too far these days. We've made Gilbert Arenas Public Enemy No. 1, which is absurd. Look, Arenas has, by himself, brought about the trouble he's in. And in short time it could be deemed criminal behavior, having those guns in the District of Columbia.

Still, is Arenas so evil that all the merchandise bearing his name and number has to be pulled from Verizon Center? And from the NBA Store in New York? And from, where you couldn't even customize a jersey and have Arenas's name on it? Is what he did so heinous his likeness has to be scrubbed off of every building in downtown Washington, like he's Al Capone?

I'm not about to back away from my earlier position, that if I ran the Wizards I'd try to have the remainder of his $111 million contract voided, and that I understand the league-ordered suspension for that ridiculous pregame pantomime in Philadelphia of firing pistols and his overall cavalier attitude about the offense. But don't tell me we have to go as far as Sethi saying in "The Ten Commandments": "Let the name of Moses be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Egypt. Let the name of Moses be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time."

Is that really what we want to do with Gilbert Arenas, which is the direction in which the ridicule seems to be taking us?

Having those guns in his locker is inexcusable and apparently unlawful, and Arenas may have to pay dearly for it. But is it the worst thing we've ever heard? Please. It isn't close. I looked up some, let's say, transgressions today of some recent NBA players. And while a stupid act can't be justified by a doubly stupid act, we still need some perspective when judging these things. I passed right over all the "possession of a firearm" charges against various players over the years, figuring they weren't fired in the actual locker room.

It falls flat because of this fact:
As a grand jury continues to hear the details of the gun incident involving Gilbert Arenas, WTOP has learned the Washington Wizards' star has -- at times -- owned several hundred guns.

Multiple sources tell WTOP that Arenas moved those weapons out of his Virginia home within the past year, long before the incident at the Verizon Center.

By all accounts, the guns in Arenas' collection were legally owned, yet it's unclear how many he actually owned or still owns.

Arenas has told investigators and the NBA about the collection, sources say.

Arenas said he brought four guns to the Verizon Center because he wanted them out of his house after his daughter was born. But two officials within the league who have been briefed on the investigation have said he incident stemmed from a dispute over card-playing gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room with teammate Javaris Crittenton.

Arenas said in a statement on Jan. 4 that he took unloaded guns from his locker in a "misguided effort to play a joke" on a teammate.

The guns turned over to police include a so-called 'Dirty Harry Revolver' and a gold-plated Desert Eagle -- which is so big and has such a powerful recoil -- no law enforcement agency uses them.

Now, you can defend the young man, and claim that he should be given a second chance, but, for right now, no.

As in, no, you don't get to play basketball. I'm sorry, but there are things that are way more important than sports at this point. There's a mental health issue here, a maturity issue, and a public safety issue.

To those who might say, well, he didn't shoot anyone.

Yes, but he owned hundreds of guns.


Where are they? Because I don't know about you, but if you own hundreds of guns, and you can't find anywhere to put them, so you bring them to the locker room, you have judgement issues well beyond anything a professional basketball franchise is going to be able to assist you with. They don't have gun wrangling flunkies in track suits, ready to help you out in the locker room (and if they do, wow, what a country).

It sort of makes the case that Gilbert Arenas has issues that playing basketball isn't going to help him solve when you can point to a fetish for guns and an inability to handle them responsibly.

Is there anything wrong with owning hundreds of guns? No. Of course not. But, being an immature young man who poops in shoes and sticks a gun in someones face is a problem, especially when he jokes about it later and treats it as if it's just another episode of the Gilbert Arenas show.

This is not what you want a young man with 111 million dollars doing in your community, it really isn't.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another Scandal for Commentator Mike Smith

Ralph Lawler, left and Mike Smith, right

Back in November, I noted the ridiculous announcing actions of one Mike Smith of the Los Angeles Clippers, when he repeatedly made off-color ethnic jokes at the expense of an Iranian NBA player.

Smith is in hot water for being a crook, too:

Los Angeles Clippers commentator Michael Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Orange County Superior Court on charges of stealing $735,000 from a retired schoolteacher in a development deal gone bad, authorities said.

Smith, 44, and Bruce Howard Furst, 57, both of Laguna Beach, are charged with grand theft in connection with the Dana Point project, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

Smith persuaded the former teacher, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to use his paid-off Dana Point home as collateral for the $735,000 loan on the project, according to prosecutors.

Smith and Furst are accused of promising the victim that his loan was guaranteed. The project never materialized, prosecutors said.

Mr. Smith has some ethical and moral blind spots, I see.

You wouldn't know this from looking at the website for the Clippers--on their main website, they have an ad feature of news stories that hasn't been updated in about six weeks.

How can you have a website and, during your season, have a feature in plain site that doesn't update for six weeks? What an organization.

Banned For Five Years?

I can't quite make the leap to a "lifetime ban" for Gilbert Arenas, and I can't quite accept a "rest of this season" or a one year ban. I think five years would suffice:
Gilbert Arenas' suspension came as new details emerged about the locker-room confrontation between Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, a Wizards teammate, on Dec. 21 that suggest a potentially far more volatile incident than was originally reported by Arenas to team officials. The two players had been arguing during a card game on the Wizards' flight back from Phoenix Dec. 19, and the dispute spilled into the team locker room at Verizon Center before practice two days later. Arenas has acknowledged bringing his handguns to the arena and displaying them in the locker room that morning in what he maintained was a playful gesture aimed at his teammate. According to two first-hand accounts of the confrontation, Crittenton responded to Arenas's action -- which included laying the four unloaded weapons in Crittenton's cubicle with a note that read, "Pick One" -- by brandishing his own firearm, loading the gun and chambering a round.

Crittenton should get a lifetime ban, starting right now. Arenas should face a similar penalty, and probably just get the same thing. Crittenton being a bit player and Arenas being a hundred million dollar player really shouldn't matter, but, in reality, it does matter. It matters to the franchise. I think that the NBA should void the contract Arenas is playing under, remove him from the league for an extended period, and review his case. I think the act of actually chambering a round indicates an escalation on the part of Crittenton that demonstrates criminal intent. Yes, you can argue that Arenas also had some sort of criminal intent to intimidate. Leaving four guns out like that is intimidation. The old joke about how it isn't armed robbery if the gun isn't loaded doesn't apply here--both players are head cases with severe problems. I just can't quite bring myself to make them equals, though.

Crittenton should never suit up again. Arenas should be given a second chance only if he can demonstrate substantive change in his lifestyle and attitude.
The NBA did try to hide the photo you see above--why? Wouldn't the existence of this photo serve as evidence that Arenas should legitimately be suspended and his contract should be voided? Or is the Public Relations fallout just too negative?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wizards and Gun Play

Arenas, Left and Crittenton, Right

No, this is not about magical wizards and spells. It's about the pathetic and ridiculous state of the Washintgon Wizards and the new wannabe bad boy in the NBA, Gilbert Arenas. Arenas is starting to make Ron Artest look like David Robinson.

Specifically, the New York Post is running a sensational story about two NBA players and a confrontation that involved guns over a gambling debt:

Washington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other during a Christmas Eve locker room argument over a gambling debt, according to The New York Post.

Citing an anonymous source, the newspaper reports in Friday's edition that the standoff was sparked when Crittenton became angry at Arenas for refusing to make good on a gambling debt. That prompted Arenas to draw on Crittenton, who then also grabbed for a gun, league security sources tell the Post.

Asked by the Post about the confrontation, Arenas denied pulling a gun on Crittenton.

"This is unprecedented in the history of sports," Billy Hunter, executive director of the Player's Association, tells the Post. "I've never heard of players pulling guns on each other in a locker room."

The Wizards said on the night of Dec. 24 that Arenas had stored unloaded firearms in a container in his locker at the arena and that the NBA was looking into the situation. On Tuesday, Washington, D.C. police said they were investigating a report that weapons were found inside a locker room at the Verizon Center.

Now, the federal government is also involved. Ben Friedman, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in DC, tells the Post "we're working with the Metropolitan Police Department on the investigation."

After the shock sets in, you have to ask yourself--did they aim the guns at each other, as in Mexican standoff, and then bust a gut laughing at how silly they looked? Did they spend the rest of the night backslapping one another?

Boy, Mr. David Stern. That's some league you have there. On Christmas Eve, in the team locker room, one of your highest paid players is pulling a gun on another player over a gambling debt. And, of course, you don't have a gambling problem in the NBA, now do you?

Arenas, of course, showed class and poise in dealing with an issue as sensitive as this:

Arenas, who has three kids, reportedly told team officials he brought
guns to his Verizon Center locker so they wouldn't be close to his newborn at
their home in Great Falls, Va.

He denied pulling a gun on Crittenton and even mocked the suggestion he
would ever point a weapon at a teammate.

"You guys, I wanted to go rob banks, I wanted to be a bank robber on the
weekends," Arenas said sarcastically after a game this week.

The NBA doesn't have a problem, now does it?