David Stern's recommendation that Gilbert Arenas and Ted Leonsis should not talk about the felony gun charge that forced Gil to miss most of last season is just that, a recommendation. Joseph White of the Associated Press is reporting that Stern's comments were just "strong advice," and that Arenas and Leonsis would not be punished if they chose not to listen.
One note on Gilbert Arenas sty: Both NBA and Wizards say it's not a gag order _ there's no threat of a fine.
In other words, Arenas & Leonsis could talk about the gun stuff if they wanted to, but commissioner is advising against it.
White continues also notes what I believe is the reason why Stern might have made this suggestion to Arenas and Leonsis.
What this does is give Arenas a way to skirt the questions. He can say: "Stern told me I didn't have to talk about that stuff."
I'm pretty sure that even before Stern made this proclamation, Gilbert Arenas and Ted Leonsis knew that they shouldn't talk about this gun incident. Leonsis' blog post yesterday leads me to believe that he has hammered that point home to Arenas and the rest of his franchise a million times this offseason.
But to have Stern come out publicly and say that Arenas and Leonsis shouldn't talk about the incident means that Arenas has a perfectly good reason to refuse comment without appearing standoffish. It also shows the media who might want to ask Arenas those types of questions that they will not be receiving any answers, so they might as well not even ask.
I think Gilbert wasn't going to be answering questions about it anyway, but Stern's "advice" likely ensures that there will be fewer asked.
Earlier today, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and one reporter got into a disagreement about how the team should handle Gilbert Arenas' first public appearance in a while next week at media day. On his blog, Leonsis stressed the need to move forward. As it turns out, maybe this was a directive from above.
According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, NBA commissioner David Stern told Arenas and the team that Arenas should decline comment on all questions relating to his felony charge for bringing guns into the locker room last December. Lee talked to Stern on the phone to confirm the news:
"It's time to move on, rather than obsess about the past," Stern said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "It's just that it's been discussed, and discussed, and discussed. It's been written about, and written about, and written about on each occasion - his release, his sentencing, my ruling or what have you - and at some point, it's time to move on. I think he's entitled to do that. And I'm supportive of him. We're lucky he's well and we like the way he's worked with various groups over the summer. And we think it's time. Millions and millions of dollars later, and a new season later, I think it's time to move on. And that's what I told him."
Leonsis, for the record, is fine with this.
"It doesn't serve anyone's interest to have Gilbert talking about what happened a year ago when the focus should be on the new season," Leonsis said. "How will Gilbert work with John Wall? I think that's fair game. 'Are you healthy?' 'Are you excited about playing again? How do you think this team has been constructed?' That's all fair game, but to talk about other matters in the past doesn't help the league or the team."