NEW YORK — NBA commissioner David Stern indefinitely suspended Gilbert Arenas without pay on Wednesday, saying the Washington Wizards guard is “not currently fit to take the court.”
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 admitting to 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 Arenas’ behavior.
Before a game on Tuesday 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 on 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.”