If you’re looking for an apology from NBA superstar Gilbert Arenas after his distasteful Instagram tirade on WNBA players, you won’t be getting one.
The former Washington Wizard and Memphis Grizzly is anything but apologetic. In fact, he is emphatically unapologetic.
In a video posted to his Instagram of two scantily-clad women playing basketball, Arenas had this to say:
“NOW this is what America was hoping for when they announced the #WNBA back in 1996… not a bunch of chicks running around looking like, cast members from #orangeisthenewblack…don’t get me wrong, they have few #cutiepies but there’s a whole alotta #beanpies running around hahahahahaha if #skylardiggins came out like this, I don’t care if she missed every layup..imma buy season tickets and I don’t even know where the [expletive] #tulsa is hahahaha #2016newwnbaoutfitPLS”
Arenas anticipated the backlash he would receive, so he ended his rant with these comments:
“and if u think this is sexist,9 times out of 10 u the ugly one and we didn’t pay to come see u play anyway #donkeykong …smdh #thiswillbeawesome #soldouteverywhere.”
Let’s address this. First, Tulsa is in Oklahoma, but that’s neither here nor there. Second, call me naïve, but I thought we graduated from this kind of sophomoric, archaic school of thinking?
I started to think this can’t be the same Gilbert Arenas who basketball fans grew to like and respect as a player. This can’t be the same Gilbert Arenas who was a three-time NBA All-Star (05-07′), All-NBA Second Team (2007), two-time All-NBA Third Team (05-06′), NBA Most Improved Player (2003), and NBA Rookie Challenge MVP (2003). This can’t be the same Gilbert Arenas who finished his career with an average of 20.7 points per game, 5.7 assists per game, and was appropriately dubbed the nickname “hibachi,” which translates to “a bowl of fire.”
Oh, but it is.
It’s also the same Gilbert Arenas who bounced around from team to team throughout his career (Warriors, Wizards, Magic, Grizzlies). It’s also the same Gilbert Arenas who decided it was acceptable to bring several firearms into an NBA locker room. It’s also the same Gilbert Arenas who seems to have a hard time coping with life post-retirement.
What was once a promising career really took a turn for the worse, in large part due to the gun incident Arenas was involved in back in 2009. Then-teammate Javaris Crittenton and Arenas had gotten into a dispute over money in a card game. The tension between the two reached its boiling point when they engaged in a war of words, culminating in both men threatening to use firearms to settle the altercation. According to the Washington Post, Crittenton went as far as to point a fully loaded gun, cocked it, and pointed it in Arenas direction. Luckily for both men, neither were injured. But as a result, the image of the team never recovered. Arenas was suspended again (first time in 2004 for failing to maintain proper handgun registration) and his career never rebounded. Arenas would finish his NBA career in 2012 and wound up playing in China for a stint, but was rarely heard from in the states — that was until a few days ago, of course.
Several WNBA stars such as Candace Parker, Elena Delle Donne, and Swin Cash took to twitter to voice their opinions on Arenas’ comments:
Social media gives a platform for individuals to make irrelevant comments and become relevant again.
— Candace Parker (@Candace_Parker) December 16, 2015
— Elena Delle Donne (@De11eDonne) December 16, 2015
To all my smart, beautiful young female ballers… No one ever asked NBA guys to hoop in a speedo so laugh at haters& Dab on dem folk
— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) December 16, 2015
Arenas’ comments were an indictment on his character, not the WNBA and its players.
League spokesman Mike Bass released a statement on behalf of the WNBA and NBA criticizing Arenas’ comments:
“Gilbert Arenas’s comments are repugnant, utterly disrespectful and flat-out wrong. WNBA players are strong, talented and determined individuals who give it their all on the court and serve as inspiring role models to millions around the world. They should be celebrated for their accomplishments, not disparaged with ignorant remarks.”
The entire situation is unfortunate, because while Arenas, may have a different vision for how he wants his WNBA to look, millions of fans across the world are perfectly content with the way it currently is.
The WNBA provides opportunities for young women out of college to take the next step professionally, while simultaneously giving younger generations something to aspire to. Why Gilbert Arenas would want to denigrate such an institution, with such a meaningful purpose is beyond me.
This is another in-your-face reminder that no matter how far we’ve progressed as a society with respects to certain issues, there is still a segment of the population who will always harbor less progressive values.
Whether you used to call him Gilbert, “Agent Zero,” or “Hibachi,” I know a few names we will now be calling Gilbert Arenas.
Sexist. Misogynist. Ignorant.
Marcus Lamar is a New York-based sports journalist. Read more from his blog at letsaddressthis.blogspot.com Follow him on Twitter @iam_marcuslamar.