Reports: NBA players pull guns over gambling debt
Washington Wizards' Javaris Crittenton poses for a photo during NBA basketball media day, Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo / Haraz N. Ghanbari)
The Associated Press
Published Friday, January 1, 2010 6:14PM EST
NEW YORK - Washington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton reportedly drew guns on each other during a locker-room argument over a gambling debt.
Law enforcement is investigating the presence of weapons in the locker room, and the league is not taking action now.
The Wizards said Friday they are co-operating with authorities and the NBA and "take this situation and the ongoing investigation very seriously." The team had no further comment.
Arenas, a three-time all-star, tweeted Friday about the developments.
"i wake up this morning and seen i was the new JOHN WAYNE. ... Media is too funny," he wrote.
About 2 1/2 hours later, his tweet was more straightforward: "i understand this is serious..but if u ever met me you know i dont do serious things im a goof ball this story today dont sound goofy to me."
The investigation into possible firearms in the locker-room at the Verizon Center revealed the alleged Dec. 21 dispute between Arenas and Crittenton, Yahoo! Sports reported Friday, citing unidentified sources.
Crittenton became angry at Arenas for refusing to make good on a gambling debt, according to a New York Post report citing an unidentified source. That prompted Arenas to draw on Crittenton, who then grabbed for a gun, league security sources told the Post. The newspaper said the dispute occurred Dec. 24, and Arenas denied pulling a gun on Crittenton.
"There is an active investigation by D.C. law enforcement authorities, which we are monitoring closely," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement Friday. "We are not taking any independent action at this time."
On Christmas Eve, the Wizards said Arenas had stored unloaded firearms in a container in his locker and the NBA was trying to fully learn what happened.
On Tuesday, Washington police said they were investigating a report that weapons were found inside a Verizon Center locker-room. On Friday, D.C. police said it was assisting the U.S. Attorney's Office in the investigation.
Players' union executive director Billy Hunter called the matter "unprecedented in the history of sports."
"I've never heard of players pulling guns on each other in a locker-room," he told the Post.
The NBA's collective bargaining agreement allows for players to legally possess firearms, but prohibits them at league facilities or when travelling on league business.
Arenas was suspended for Washington's season opener in 2004 because he failed to maintain proper registration of a handgun while living in California in 2003. Arenas, in the second season of a six-year, US$111 million contract, formerly played for the Golden State Warriors.
He scored 24 points in Washington's 110-98 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. The six-foot-four guard is averaging 22.7 points. He was limited to 15 games the past two seasons following three operations on his left knee over 1 1/2 years.
Crittenton is out with an injured left foot and hasn't played this season.