Stern also warned that Arenas' conduct will "ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse."
Arenas is under investigation by federal and
local authorities after admittedly bringing guns to the locker room.
Stern originally planned to wait to take action and directed the
Washington organization to do the same. But the commissioner tired of
Before a game Tuesday night in Philadelphia,
Arenas was photographed encircled by teammates, smiling and pointing
his index fingers at them as if they were guns. Arenas met with law
enforcement officials Monday and said the next day he feared Stern more
than the authorities because the commissioner was "mean."
"Although it is clear that the actions of Mr.
Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps
worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not
currently fit to take the court in an NBA game," Stern said in a
statement. "Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely,
without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the
investigation by the NBA."
Arenas is scheduled to earn $16.2 million this season. The punishment came on his 28th birthday.
The Wizards supported Stern's decision in a
statement attributed to president Ernie Grunfeld and the Pollin family,
which owns the team. The late Abe Pollin changed the team's name from
the Bullets because of the violent connotation.
"Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbert's recent
behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last
night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable," the statement said. "Some of
our other players appeared to find Gilbert's behavior in Philadelphia
amusing. This is also unacceptable. Under Abe Pollin's leadership, our
organization never tolerated such behavior, and we have no intention of
ever doing so."
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