First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton talks sports

Mar 24, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Prosecutors want Gilbert Arenas to serve three months in jail for bringing four guns into the Wizards' locker room late last year, violating both D.C. gun laws and basic common sense. Arenas pled guilty in January to one felony count of carrying a pistol without a license. He will be sentenced Friday.

I wrote back in January that I thought Arenas might be well served by some jail time and I haven't changed my mind. He seems to have trouble with his grasp of reality; jail should clear that right up. But I'm a law-and-order girl. Too harsh?

The sentencing memo also revealed that when Wizards personnel found the guns -- LEFT IN A SUITCASE IN THE VERIZON CENTER PARKING GARAGE -- they drove them back to Virgina. Maybe Arenas should have some company in the hoosegow.

I'm sick and tired of prominent sports figures getting off with just about anything because they have a talent to play a game. Most of the prominent sports figures today ARE NOT the ROLE MODEL I would present to young people.

Good morning, everyone. Let's get right to it.

I would agree that very few athletes are role models and that we should be looking elsewhere for role models. That can be really hard when the athletes get all the attention, both positive and negative.

Where to look? That's  a good question. There are bad role models in about every walk of life I can think of.

Tracee: You're quick to pronounce judgment and dispense your version of justice. What would you do with the numerous young people in D.C. who actually shoot the guns and harm or kill people rather than just foolishly play with a gun or carry it into a building?

I guess I am quick to pronounce judgment, although as yet I haven't been able to dispense any. Oh, if only ... :)

As for the young people who actually use the guns, I'd sentence them according to the laws of the District of Columbia -- which is exactly what is happening with Gilbert Arenas. Remember, Gilbert had FOUR guns and he's only been charged for one. He's already gotten one break.

No one else is bothered by the Wizards' coverup in all this?

Three months for being an idiot? Pretty light sentence, if you ask me. They should tack on a must-play-for-the-Wiz 10-year probation requirement as true punishment.

Well, if idiocy was a felony, our jails would be even more overcrowded. The play-for-the-Wizards sentence is a brilliant idea. All the NBA's miscreants could be sentenced to Washington; Verizon Center would become sort of The Rock of the NBA. Oy.

It's amazing the guy is still technically a Wizards, when you look at everyone the team has gotten rid of this season. Gun charges aside, this guy DESTROYED  a team. He'll walk for that crime, however.

If you ask me, Gilbert will get no jail time. But, he surely deserves at least three months. This guy thinks that he can carry around weapons and claim everything as jokes. I know he is a supper star, but where do we draw the line for our atheletes?

Well, the line ought to be drawn in the same place it would drawn for you or me. If I had brought four guns into the Post newsroom, laid them on Wilbon's chair and said "pick one", I'm guessing no one would believe I was joking. If someone had written this scenario for one of the "Law and Order" shows you wouldn't have believed it.

I just have a comment. I don't think Gilbert Arenas should be given jail time. The suspension and maybe a fine would be appropriate. I also feel some probation period should keep him from every making the mistake with guns again.

I don't think you're the only one who feels that way. I admit I'm more of a hard *** when it comes to the law than others.

The New York Post and RadarOnline report Tiger lover #16 has come forward. Do you think the total will hit 18?

So he'd had an entire golf course of booty? Oh, probably. My guess is that for every publicity seeking bimbo he fooled around with there is at least one who doesn't want to come forward and share her story with the world. God, I hope so. Because otherwise, in addition to being an unbelievable hound, he's got incredibly bad taste.


The team was already destroyed before this gun incident.

The team was bad before the gun incident. It was still intact. Destroyed was probably a bad word. Maybe "dispersed"? Then they get Josh Howard and he tears up his knee. I was trying to follow all this from the Olympics and just couldn't believe what I was reading. Really, it's unbelievable the way the team was dismantled in the wake of Gilbert's idiocy. I'm not saying it was a bad thing; I'd tear it down and start over if I was the new ownership. I still found it fascinating to watch.

From GEORGIA and re your suggestion yesterday that Masters "patrons" -- gotta know the lingo -- would be even more reluctant in this year of the Tiger to sell their badges....not so much. The Internet ticket brokers are rife with them -- and they sure didn't get them from the club.

All right, I believe you. Love "patrons." But they still can electronically trace whose "badge" it is. So the guy who buys a badge in order to call Tiger a whore will be booted, and the badge traced to whoever sold it.

Of course he should get jail time. Why is this even a question? If I brought a gun into my job (as a financial advisor), I would be fired, and I'd be sitting in jail much longer than 3 months. So what if he plays basketball...

And the other side of the coin. I agree with you, obviously, but a lot of people don't.

Arenas will try and buy off the judge with public service, but who would want their kids exposed to a gun nut?

I wonder what form his public service will take? If it's going to schools telling kids to stay away from guns, I'm not sure that's a great idea. He needs to work with some folks who don't idolize him. He'll come away from those school visits believing more than ever in his own specialness. Maybe have him wash dishes in a soup kitchen, something that's not got a spotlight attached to it. His ego is one of his problems.

I 'd love for some legal scholars and pundits explain the logic - or lack thereof - with regards to the sentencing athletes receive in high-profile cases.

Donte Stallworth was given 30 days in jail, 1000 of community service and fines for killing a man while driving drunk. Leonard Little received 90 days and a 1000 hours for killing a woman while driving drunk.

However, Plaxico Burress gets two years in prison for shooting himself, and here, the prosecution wants Arenas to get 90 days in jail in an incident where *nobody* got hurt.

That's more jail time than what Luis Polonia got for having sex with a minor. I'm not denying the man screwed up, but he's already lost almost a year of work and had his fun-loving, goofball reputation ruined.

Putting him in jail for three months seems rather excessive and pointless to me. I'd think he's learned his lesson, as well as any NBA player who would attempt a similar move.

This is not just a problem in the sentencing of athletes, but in the sentencing of everyone. Sentences vary wildly by jurisdiction. The Burress sentence seems harsh, considering the idiot shot no one but himself, but that is the law in NYC. That is why you can't compare athlete sentences; it depends on the jurisdiction. D.C. has tougher gun laws than most (and a gun problem despite that, but that's another chat). You can't say, well, Gilbert should get less of a sentence than Donte Stallworth. You have to look at what others have gotten for similar offenses in the District.

And of course, the Stallworth sentence is obscene.

How about we start a new show, "Celebrity Draw." We can have 2 jocks face each other every week, with the survivor moving on. How about Arenas vs. the guy from the Nets who shot his driver.

Ouch! Somewhere in Hollywood, someone has already pitched this idea.

My version would be milder; put all these loonies in a "Survivor" type situation and let 'em duke it out. But no guns.  (What a video game that would make, though.)

Thanks for joining in today. Hope to see you tomorrow.

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinons and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from geneology to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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