Gilbert Arenas is a lucky man.
Lucky he’s spending a few days in a halfway house instead of a few years in a prison. Lucky he plays in a league that guarantees contracts.
Lucky he didn’t put bullets in the guns he brought to work to show a teammate he meant business. Lucky that everyone understands he’s just a fun-loving guy.
Plaxico Burress can only wish he was so lucky. Not only did he shoot himself, but got locked up because of it. There’s no job guarantee when he gets out, no teams lining up to give him his millions.
Super Bowl hero one day, just another number in the New York prison system the next.
The cases differ, of course, but they do have a common theme. Both involve star athletes so arrogantly caught up in the gun culture that is pervasive in professional sports that they thought gun laws didn’t apply to them.
Imagine any other person keeping their job, too, after bringing guns to work and offering them to a fellow employee to settle a dispute, say, over who gets the corner cubicle.
A more fitting sentence might have been a few months in jail, if only to demonstrate that guns are no joking matter. A more fitting response from Stern might have been to kick Arenas out of the league for good.
Instead, Arenas will spend a few nights at a halfway house. He’ll do a few hours of community work. Eventually he’ll get on with playing in the NBA once again.
The judge bought the argument that the good things Arenas has done with charity work mitigate the bad. He believed the defense portrayal of Arenas as being genuinely remorseful.
We can only hope it’s true. Right now the only thing we really know about Arenas is that he’s one lucky man.
And that’s no joke.