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Wizards' Arenas suspended indefinitely as new details emerge in gun incident
A source familiar with Monday's meeting between Arenas and police and prosecutors said that prosecutors agreed to only use Arenas's statements as part of their investigation, not as direct evidence to be presented to the grand jury or to be used during a trial or hearing. Also, Arenas told prosecutors Monday that he would be willing to meet with them again or appear before a grand jury in the coming days if they requested.
Prosecutors began presenting evidence to a D.C. Superior Court grand jury in the case Tuesday. The case is still being investigated by the police and the league, which has yet to interview all players involved. D.C. police declined to comment.
A 'respected' decision
Arenas, reached by telephone in his Cleveland hotel room, where he watched the Wizards lose to the Cavaliers on Wednesday night, said he "respected" Stern's decision to suspend him.
"He is the same man who put me on my second all-star team after I got snubbed by the coaches," Arenas added. "That decision came down for me. He made a tougher decision today that went against me. And I have to accept it."
In his statement, Stern held out the prospect of a prolonged suspension for Arenas, who turned 28 Wednesday.
"The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us," Stern said. "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, who originally had said through the league that he would wait until the police investigation concluded before taking action, decided to act after Arenas playfully formed his hands into pistols and pretended he was shooting his teammates as the Wizards huddled courtside before their game against the 76ers in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
The Wizards issued a statement supporting the commissioner's move. "Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbert's recent behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable," said the team's statement, which was signed by team President Ernie Grunfeld; Irene Pollin, the widow of late owner Abe Pollin; and their two sons. "Some of our other players appeared to find Gilbert's behavior in Philadelphia amusing. This is also unacceptable."
Arenas has maintained that he brought the four guns to Verizon Center and put them in a locked container to get them out of his Virginia home following the birth of his third child Dec. 9. They were taken by arena security after the incident.
Crittenton's gun, according to the witnesses of the altercation, was never found. Both witness accounts said they were unclear how the gun was disposed of.
Preston Burton, a defense attorney and former assistant U.S. attorney in the District, said it would be difficult to build a criminal case against Crittenton based on the scenario described by the witnesses. He said prosecutors would look at factors, including whether they could prove Crittenton had a weapon, and whether the gun was real.
"It's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make a case without a gun," Burton said.