Gilbert Arenas Addresses His Responsibility To Young Fans In Op-Ed Letter

- By Bossip Staff

The Post suggested on Dec. 31 that I send a message to young fans “about guns being neither glamorous nor desirable.” I am grateful for the opportunity to do something good in the face of the very bad situation I created.

I have done a number of things wrong recently. I violated D.C. gun laws and the NBA’s ban on firearms on league property, and I damaged the image of the NBA and its players. I reacted badly to the aftermath and made fun of inaccurate media reports, which looked as though I was making light of a serious situation. And I gave Commissioner David Stern good reason to suspend me from the game, which put my teammates in a tough position and let down our fans and Mrs. Irene Pollin, the widow of longtime Wizards owner Abe Pollin.

I understand the importance of teaching nonviolence to kids in today’s world. Guns and violence are serious problems, not joking matters — a lesson that’s been brought home to me over the past few weeks. I thought about this when I pleaded guilty as charged in court and when I accepted my NBA suspension without challenge.

That message of nonviolence will be front and center as I try to rebuild my relationship with young people in the D.C. area. I know that won’t happen overnight, and that it will happen only if I show through my actions that I am truly sorry and have learned from my mistakes. If I do that, then hopefully youngsters will learn from the serious mistakes I made with guns and not make any of their own.

I am trying hard to right my wrongs. The one that will be hardest to make right is the effect my actions have had on kids who see NBA players as role models. Professional athletes have a duty to act responsibly and to understand the influence we have on all those kids who look up to us. I failed to live up to that responsibility when I broke the law and set such a bad example. Washington’s children, parents and fans all deserve better from me, especially after all the kindness they’ve shown me over the years.

While I regret a lot about this incident, letting the kids down is my biggest regret. I love the time I spend with the kids here in the District, and it means a lot to me whenever I can help lift their spirits or inspire them, especially kids who have difficult lives.

Last Tuesday, I wrote a letter to students in D.C. schools that was also about owning up to my mistakes. I said that I lost sight of the lesson I learned from Abe Pollin about how the responsibility to be a good role model comes along with the opportunity he gave me. I reiterate now the pledge I made to those students: that this is a responsibility I am not going to walk away from, that I will choose more wisely in the future and do my best to help guide children into brighter futures.

There have been few bright spots for me these past few weeks. But one came the night I played my last game this season at Verizon Center. I saw young fans were still showing up wearing my jersey. That meant more to me than I can say.

The relationship I have with young fans is very important to me. I realize now how easily I can damage it. I have to earn that respect and work to deserve it each and every day. I plan to do that work by partnering with public officials and community groups to teach kids to avoid trouble and learn from their mistakes, to strive for success by working hard and persevering, and to try to make the right choices.

Some people may not forgive me for what I’ve done. But if I help steer even just one young person away from violence and trouble, then I’ll once again feel that I’m living up to Abe Pollin’s legacy and to the responsibility I owe the kids of the District.

The writer, a guard for the Washington Wizards, was suspended last month without pay for the rest of the season.

Arenas’ letter seems very sincere, do you think it will win him any points with David Stern???


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  • ginobli

    living in the city where this incident has happened only saddens me i can say that gilbert is a valuable asset to his community he is one of the only sports figures u see spending time and money with inner city youth , i cant and wont condone his action but we all are people and make mistakes he’s paying for them now and i know time can and will heal wonds i wish the brother the best in all adventures

  • drenk

    wow what a nice letter now was it his lawyers secretary that wrote that or his agents…?

  • auchamp22

    I hope too see you back in the league one day GB, now take the time to get yourself back together and appreciate the talent God has given you… N***as with money smh…..

  • Gimmeabreak78


    I must admit–after reading the eloquence of the letter, I didn’t think he wrote it either.
    He might have, I don’t know, but in any event, I am glad to see that he is very publicly taking ownership of his mistakes.

    What he did was certainly stupid and disastrous, but it takes a lot of courage to publicly admit that you have missed the mark and disappointed a lot of people. I would say that that is truly a mark of maturity, and I applaud him for taking that step.


    Of course he did’nt write it.No matter.What does matter is good deeds from this point on.I’m sure he understands now that a job in the NBA is a privilege…not a given.See ya’ in camp GA.

  • Roger

    That tattoo is about twenty kinds of stupid. Oh, and if he wrote that letter himself, I’ll eat brussel sprouts.

  • drenk


    you should eat them anyways, very healthy and high in fiber.

    wash them, cut them in half and sprinkle salt pepper, brown sugar and olive oil over them, pop them in the oven on broil until they start to blacken along the edges, damn good eats

  • Unkle Ruckus

    You really think HE wrote that? I got a bridge in Brooklyn I’ll sell you, cheap.

  • Gimmeabreak78


    That tattoo is about twenty kinds of stupid. Oh, and if he wrote that letter himself, I’ll eat brussel sprouts.

    Every time I see that tattoo, I think of Tony the Tiger urging me to eat my Frosted Flakes because “They’re Ggggrrrreeeeaaatttt!” lol

  • real black is chocolate f'ck fake azz bullsh't!!!! real nikka aka Gmen


    oh stfu fake azz b’tch you not want him you want his money and u not black lol

    dat nikka dumb as hell!


    […] to us. I failed to live up to that responsibility when I broke the law and set such a bad example. Washington’s children, parents and fans all deserve better from me, especially after all the kindness […]

  • AA

    Of course he wrote the letter. It’s obvious because although he expresses remorse for his actions, it keeps going back to “the kids”. If it had been written by someone more capable the letter would have addressed the “kid issue” and moved on but it kept dwelling on that same issue. He messed up. He’s sorry. And he seems committed to being a positive role model. That’s 1000 times more than anyone can say about 99% of the rap stars out there. Cut the guy some slack and let him dig himself out of this hole without being pissed on by all the pessimists. I’d like to see how YOU would act with all that fame and fortune.

  • AA

    Rrrrroe Ski Love – you are a fresh breath of intelligence in this “dat nikka dumb as hell!” sea of morons.

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