There's a Dark Hand Over My Heart

I am really not going to look back over everything I've written this past week and apologize, or tweak, according to the latest revelations. Head to TMZ if you really want to feel like the sky is falling. It pains the fuck out of me to acknowledge that, somehow, Vecsey did sort of have the story all along, perhaps the only real reporting of his career. How he got it pre-Gil/Critt cover-up will hopefully come to light soon, and I'm sure will make this ten times craziers. BECAUSE PETER VECSEY DOES NOT GET STORIES THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY. He doesn't know how to.

It's "Armageddnon Week" on the History Channel, and my listening for the day has moved onto this:

But this is really still about Gil. I said on Dan Levy's podcast last night that this was Gil at his most Gil ever. One friend said he's never been more proud of, or at least fascinated, by Arenas. However, Lang's got the most sobering angle on it: Arenas just doesn't seem to recognize that sometimes you can't plow through the world on sheer whim alone. You have to do shit you don't want to, follow orders, and go by the logic of something other than your own bonkers mental activity. Why would Gil have ever learned that lesson? He's a self-made superstar, defying the ban on combo guards, the expectations that he'd fail as a pro, and the post-Jordan belief that personality doesn't sell anymore. He wouldn't sit down and shut up, or play by the rules, not because he's a rebel, but because he's just completely out-there and independent.

He did his whole career his way. And he carried that over into a crisis that could very well end it. The Twitter, the FINGER GUNZ, they flew in the face of everything he was supposed to do—that Stern wanted him to do for the good of the league—to such an extent that it's hard to see this as, in the most grave way possible, Gil being Gil. To the bitter fucking end, I guess. Plus, that he is the lovable goofball works against him. At least a hardened thug-like dude has it expected of him, and is easy damage control for the league to run. In a way, Artest's history of violence allows him to get away with darn near anything now, even if he's at bottom just as fundamentally weird as Gil. Arenas, though, doesn't have that buffer. Nor does he have Delonte West's diagnosis. Gilbert Arenas is what he is, always has been, and he insists on being accepted for that. That's stubborn, arrogant, and misguided, but just as often refreshing, charming, and exhilarating. But here, Arenas knew the truth all along, and Stern's likely known for a minute. That Gil couldn't for once take a break from fighting for acceptance, or noticed that to survive you sometimes have to roll over and play possum, is everyone's loss.

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At 1/07/2010 2:56 PM, Blogger DocZeus said...

For years, I've wanted an athlete or an entertainer caught up in a public scandal to behave like Gilbert Arenas has this last week. I wanted somebody to absolutely refuse to engage in the public relations charade and do things like give the nauseantingly faux-contrite public apology. I wanted somebody to mock the process and stand defiantly giving the middle finger to the media vultures.

It's what Tiger Woods should have done the moment his scandal broke out.

This is NOT one of those times. Gilbert brought weapons into the gun place. That's unacceptable because he's putting people's lives in dangers. It's only left me thinking: "Seriously, what the hell is wrong with the guy?"

At 1/07/2010 3:06 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

My FD Gil poster is ready to be picked up from the framing shop. I plan to hang it in my office with pride. Fuck David Stern.

At 1/07/2010 3:19 PM, Blogger Jake said...

Before I get ahead of myself... giant gold-plated Desert Eagle?

I like that we're backing off from the point of turning Gil into something that he's not, for our own sake. By that I mean, it's nice for us at a distance to write about how distorted Gil's internal logic is, and how he's simply continuing to defy defy defy, just Gil being Gil, etc... I just think, let's not make him a puppet in our own intellectual-political game. Let's not use him like that. It's good to identify his mistake.

Fucking multiple guns, including a gold plated desert eagle, in the locker room, in the stadium, where we go to watch the Wizards play basketball.

At 1/07/2010 3:37 PM, Blogger PM said...

ArmHead wrote:
"it's nice for us at a distance to write about how distorted Gil's internal logic is, and how he's simply continuing to defy defy defy, just Gil being Gil, etc... I just think, let's not make him a puppet in our own intellectual-political game. Let's not use him like that. It's good to identify his mistake."

I couldn't agree more.

At 1/07/2010 3:40 PM, Blogger John said...

Although I've disagreed with some of your takes on this issue, I certainly don't think you have a thing for which to apologize. A buddy of mine opined that the NBA is Kobe and Lebron and everyone else fits into varying degrees of importance below them. Kobe was able to work his way back into co-Kingship of the Association because he's Kobe. (If you believe Bill Simmons, when the league was just MJ and everyone else, MJ was allowed to do the same thing following his "retirement.") Gil is not one of the two favored sons. At bottom, I've always felt that apart from the vicious double or triple standards which I won't deny are at play, Gil is screwed because of the workplace violence angle of this. There are tons of people who go to work in NBA locker rooms and stadiums who are paid jack and just love the idea of working in pro sports. They didn't sign up for guns at work.

At bottom, I tweeted this at you guys yesterday, the suspension was inevitable, finger guns just sped up the start date.

At 1/07/2010 3:53 PM, Blogger Dude N Plenty said...

How exactly did Gil put anybody's life in danger?

If Gil had a little better read on how society works he would have realized his finger gun joke would load weight to his millstone. But damn, it was a little funny and, my guess, it conveyed the sort of humor he expressed when he laid the guns at Critt's locker. I would be less surprised to know that Gil was using humor as a peace overture then that he was expressing hostility. The finger guns just ring that way for me too. Then again, I don't know the dude and the only "significant" stake I have in this situation is that one of the favorites in my fantasy keeper league just lost a pretty good player got in the 13th round.

How long is the Bullets name going to haunt this team?

On second thought, maybe this is a sign they should take that name back seeing how happy they should be to void that contract,

At 1/07/2010 9:12 PM, Blogger Hypothetical Self said...

While we are on a (moral) witch hunt, who else has guns (or coke or whatever) in their locker? Maybe we should treat the NBA like an inner city high school. Maybe that would be more honest.

I feel like Arenas should pull a Cowens, shoot someone, and yell "now that's violence." It's kind of a silly and maybe inappropriate thing to say, but this is all annoying. What happens when something real happens?

At 1/07/2010 9:44 PM, Blogger bloomer said...

Don't underestimate how playing day-in day-out for the rudderless, pointless, soul-sucking hell that is the Washington Wizards played into Gilbert's loss of boundaries and complete lack of giving a sh*t.

At 1/08/2010 11:19 AM, Blogger Teddy said...

I tend to agree that this was more bonkers than anything else--unless Gil has prehensile toes, it's tough to see how he planned to use four fireams simultaneously--and that both the original prank and the FINGAH GUNZZ were meant as jokes.

But I don't know that that exonerates Gil, exactly. All he needed to demonstrate was simple awareness of almost any sort. If you want to focus on more refined, aspirational awareness of his place in society, he should be aware that guns in the temple are bad. If you want to focus more on mother wit-type awareness, he should be aware that some people in the world are legit, BAD crazy, and will shoot someone if you try to prank them with guns.

He whiffed on both counts.

At 1/08/2010 12:46 PM, Blogger Michael Curry said...

No matter what you think of Peter Vecsey, you're not allowed to say you don't have to apologize for being wrong, terribly wrong, and taking shots at the rep of a reporter that you don't like.

You were wrong, be a man and apologize, don't pretend it's okay to be wrong. That's what got Gilbert in trouble.

At 1/08/2010 12:55 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I was with you until you told me "be a man." Also, Vecsey's account remains the most over-the-top and damning, and has yet to be verified. Oh, and he doesn't have the best track record.

At 1/08/2010 1:19 PM, Blogger Jeff Laughlin said...

I think Zul has it right, here. We should enjoy the simple things in life like On Drop Perfume and Free Movies. I think Gil would have wanted it that way.

At 1/08/2010 3:15 PM, Blogger spanish bombs said...

So what happened exactly? Is it this: http://deadspin.com/5442282/crittenton-cocked-and-loaded-arenas-taking-the-fall ?

At 1/10/2010 10:11 PM, Blogger Asher said...

I think that this Lang/you analysis that this is about Gilbert never learning how to conform is a slick way of (a) denying that Gilbert really did anything wrong and (b) blaming the victim (the league) for trying to make poor Gilbert conform. It's wrong to bring guns into work, it's stupid and wrong to try to punk someone who's threatened to shoot you/obviously kind of volatile by handing them some guns and saying "pick one." It doesn't make him an awful person, just a pretty dumb and reckless one, but it's an eminently fireable offense, and we shouldn't reduce it to "poor Gilbert, he never learned to conform, the league pampered him too much so who can blame him"


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