Ex-Wizard Mason 'not surprised' by gun drama

By Katie Carrera
Sunday, January 3, 2010; D10

When San Antonio Spurs guard Roger Mason Jr. returned to Washington on Saturday night, the pregame buzz at Verizon Center was anywhere but on the court. Talk of the alleged confrontation between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton permeated all corners of the arena, including the visitors' locker room.

"Unfortunately I can't say that I'm surprised," said Mason, who played for the Wizards for two seasons from 2006 to 2008. "There are rumors, nothing's been confirmed, but if it is confirmed not only am I not surprised, I'm disappointed."

The NBA, D.C. police and federal authorities are investigating claims that Arenas brought guns to Verizon Center because of a dispute with Crittenton, bringing additional scrutiny to the 10-21 Wizards.

In the locker room before they beat the Wizards, 97-86, the Spurs -- a veteran-laden team -- expressed varying reactions to the incident.

"It's a very unfortunate situation and as NBA players we have a certain responsibility and to me it's like a lack of respect," Mason said. "Lack of respect for your teammates, for your organization and your fans because we're in a great position. I hope that [the reports] are not true. I don't want to be the one to rush to judgment, but if they are true I'm very disappointed."

San Antonio veteran forward Richard Jefferson has been a close friend of Arenas since they played together at Arizona, and said he didn't believe either the three-time all-star or Crittenton meant any serious harm or that they would do something to damage their careers.

"I think it was a joke gone wrong," Jefferson said. "Everyone talks real big and plays around, but I don't think there was anything malicious or that there was anything threatening or dangerous. . . . You typically don't bring something like this up, if you're really going to threaten somebody, and then joke about it."

Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich declined to comment on the situation directly, but laughed when a reporter remarked that he had the "most boring team in the NBA."

"At the risk of sounding self righteous," Popovich said, "I'm just going to go ahead and say we've been fortunate."

Said Mason: "We're all human and nobody's perfect. . . . There's just certain things that you don't do. That's one of them. I'm happy that on this team, nobody's worried about making headlines for the wrong reasons."

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