Delonte vs Gilbert

David Stern came out today and threw the book at Gilbert Arenas:

Gilbert Arenas was suspended without pay Wednesday by NBA commissioner David Stern, who determined the player’s behavior made him “not currently fit to take the court.”

A day after the Washington Wizards guard was photographed before a game in Philadelphia pointing his index fingers, as if they were guns, at his teammates, Stern warned the former All-Star that his 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, but he tired of Arenas’ behavior.

Arenas met with law enforcement officials Monday and said the next day that 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.”

With the Cavs playing the Wizards tonight, expect to see a fair amount of comparison between Gilbert’s situation (suspended indefinitely) and that of one Delonte West (still playing).

The situations differ in a couple of key aspects:

Some would argue the same about Delonte West, but don’t get too far ahead of the game (Alan T.) The circumstances are vastly different than what happened to West.

West’s incident didn’t occur during the course of the NBA season. Nor did he bring his firearms to work. Lastly, whether anyone wants to admit it, extenuating circumstances exists around West’s legal problems.

At least one NBA insider agrees. Arenas doesn’t suffer from any known mental illness and while they both acted with extremely poor judgment, from everything I know, there is no way to explain away pulling a gun on a teammate.

But that’s not all.

Yes, Delonte’s arrest happened in the offseason and he wasn’t on NBA property. And yes, he has a history of mental illness so there may be some leeway there. You haven’t seen Delonte tweeting and acting like the whole thing is a joke.

On the other hand, Arenas did himself no favors with the constant interviews, finger-guns and ridiculous tweeting.

Maybe it’s not fair that Arenas gets suspended because he pissed off David Stern but what did you think would happen? For all his faults, Delonte West hasn’t been joking about it or walking back apologies via Twitter.

Arenas could’ve saved himself a ton of grief had he simply shut up and let things take their course. By acting like an ass and making light of his situation, Arenas proved (very publicly, which is a big Stern no-no) that he doesn’t feel sorry for anything. Sitting down and shutting up probably wouldn’t have saved Arenas from a suspension but there’d likely be a timetable for his return.

Of course, West isn’t out of the woods yet either. There’s still a decent chance he’ll miss some time at some point this season.

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