By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas denied making comments attributed to him in a police report detailing his arrest on Saturday night in Miami Beach. Arenas and Awvee Storey, who played with the Wizards last season, were arrested and charged with disobeying police after they got out of a vehicle on a street packed with people during an event known as Urban Beach Week.
As Arenas was arrested, according to the police report, he said: "You can't arrest me. I'm a basketball player. I play for the Washington Wizards and I'm not going to leave my teammate."
Arenas said he never made such a statement.
"All I did was get out of the car to ask where they were taking Awvee so I could come get him out, and some officer comes up from behind and cuffs me," Arenas said in a phone interview.
"Everyone knows me. They know I don't have a cocky personality. I don't use my name to get in trouble and I don't use my name to get out of trouble. That would never come out of my mouth."
Arenas said he and Storey were riding in a limousine in heavy traffic when Storey got out of the vehicle after recognizing a former teammate. According to the police report, Storey was asked by an officer to get back onto the sidewalk. When Storey did not leave the street, the officer arrested him.
Arenas and Storey were processed and released after paying a fine. A total of 557 people, including Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, were arrested between Thursday morning and Saturday night on Miami Beach during an annual event that attracts several thousand people. This year, police beefed up their presence during the event.
Arenas called Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball, on Sunday to explain what happened. Arenas will be one of 23 players trying out for the men's national team beginning July 19 in Las Vegas, and Colangelo has emphasized character in his selections. "I just wanted him to know that this wasn't a situation where I was out of control, disrespecting police," Arenas said. "That's not how I am."
Wizards Note: Juan Carlos Navarro, who was selected in the second round of the 2002 draft by the Wizards, is interested in leaving Europe for the NBA. The Wizards control Navarro's NBA rights but his contract with FC Barcelona contains a hefty buyout clause. Navarro, a shooting guard, is considered one of the top players in Europe.
"It's a door I do not want to close," Navarro said during a news conference yesterday in Barcelona. "I have been thinking about [playing in the NBA] this year, but there are many complications."