PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Gilbert Arenas has no concerns about possible legal action brought against him because law enforcement officials “already know the truth.”
He’s not as confident he can escape punishment from NBA commissioner David Stern.
Arenas said on Tuesday that he’ll likely have to meet with Stern to explain why he had guns at the Verizon Center last month. Arenas has yet to be contacted by league officials for his role in what he claims is nothing more than a joke gone awry.
Arenas laughed when he said he feared Stern more than the authorities because the commissioner was “mean.” Arenas said Stern could be feeling pressure to discipline him even before authorities make a decision on whether or not to press charges.
“Most likely he’s getting a lot of pressure with all the stories going around,” Arenas said.
Stern likely will wait until the legal process is complete before handing down penalties, but he could rule on Arenas now since league rules were broken in that instance.
At the NBA’s request, the firearms language was bolstered during collective bargaining in 2005. Players are subject to discipline if they bring guns to the arena or practice facility, or even an offsite promotional appearance.
“Once they hear the real stories, and the stories get out, you put it in David Stern’s hands,” Arenas said. “What he does, he does.”
Arenas did not say if his guns were licensed.
He didn’t seem bothered by the ongoing legal process before the game. Arenas was photographed encircled by his Wizards teammates, smiling and pointing his index fingers at them as if they were guns.
Arenas, who turns 28 on Wednesday, apologized after the game if the photo upset anyone.
“I know everybody seen the pre game pics..my teammate thought to break the tention we should do that..but this is gettn way to much,” Arenas tweeted.
One day after voluntarily meeting with law enforcement officials to explain why he had guns at the Verizon Center last month, Arenas had 19 points and 14 assists for the Wizards in their 104-97 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
In his statement Monday, Arenas repeated his earlier assertion that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker in order to get them out of his house and away from his children. Arenas told federal authorities that he believed recent changes in D.C. law made it legal for him to store unloaded guns at the arena.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that prosecutors began presenting evidence to a D.C. Superior Court grand jury.
“They already know the story so I don’t have to worry about that,” Arenas said. “They already know the truth. They’ve heard the story and the testimony from everybody in the locker room.”
Wizards coach Flip Saunders did not answer a question after the win about his plans to possibly meet with police.
Arenas said he took the unloaded guns out of his locker on Dec. 21 “in a misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate.” He denied threatening or assaulting anyone. The New York Post has reported that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other.
Two officials within the league who have been briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press on Saturday that the incident stemmed from a dispute over card-playing gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room.
“I feel bad for the situation where I’ve taken them out of my house to get away from my kids, but I bring them to my locker and put all my teammates at risk, even though they weren’t loaded,” Arenas said. “That’s somebody’s kids, too. So I’m sorry for all the parents of my teammates.”
Arenas claimed the serious legal issues have not been a distraction.
“It’s been easy for me,” he said. “If I believed all the stories, of course it would be hard. That’s why we’re so upbeat, because we know what’s out there is way far from the truth.”
Arenas was upset the Rev. Al Sharpton told the New York Daily News, “The NBA needs to stand up and send a strong message by dealing with this situation.”
“For a leader, espeically a black leader, to make a comment like that, I don’t think it was fair,” Arenas said. Arenas also wants an apology from the media he claims is “slandering me.”
Arenas was heckled by Sixers fans, most yelling, “don’t shoot!” Some fans had their “Disarm Agent Zero” sign confiscated by security. Arenas saw the sign and smiled.
“If I really did something wrong, it would bother me,” Arenas said. “I would feel remorse in what I did. But I didn’t do anything.”