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Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Gilbert Arenas Suspended by NBA: Will Contract Termination Follow?

Update 1/7/2010:

I have a new Q/A on which delves into a Washington Post report that Javaris Crittenton may have had a loaded gun.

I also did an interview with Scott Drake on the Legal Broadcast Network on this topic:

Original Post from 1/6/2010
: A few hours ago, I did a Washington Post Q/A on the Gilbert Arenas suspension and addressed some questions about his contract and what the Wizards can do. Arenas was suspended indefinitely by the NBA because of his behavior over the last day. After sounding contrite on Monday and Tuesday, he made some questionable choices, such as pretending (clearly in jest, but not with great timing) to shoot his teammates during Tuesday night's Wizards-76ers game and making some questionable tweets. Here's an excerpt of the Q/A:

Washington, D.C.: What kind of leverage does this give the team, if it's looking for a way to dump Gilbert's contract? Does he have to be convicted of a felony before any morals clause kicks in?

Michael McCann: This is the real interesting issue, in my view. Clause 16 of the Uniform Player Contract empowers teams to void contracts and is vaguely worded to include not only criminal behavior, but behavior that is immoral. It has been seldom used, however (a recent example was the Celtics using it to terminate Vin Baker's contract, and that wasn't entirely successful, since it lead to a financial settlement with Baker). Hypothetically, if the Wizards terminate Arenas' contract through Clause 16, the Players Association will vehemently object and file a grievance, which will be heard by an independent arbitrator. Latrell Sprewell (with the Players' Association help) was able to get his contract with the Warriors reinstated, even though he choked a coach, which is arguably worse than what Arenas did. Bottom line: if Arenas contract can be voided, think about what teams will do with other controversial players who have long-term, lucrative contracts.


Hypothetically: If you were Gilbert's lawyer, what would your next move be?

Michael McCann: I would tell him to say absolutely nothing, to turn off Twitter, to get off Facebook, to stop having any public presence. And I'm sure his lawyer told him all of this, but the lawyer can't control the client, especially a client who is as gregarious and idiosyncratic as Arenas. Right now, Arenas has to be thinking about appearing before a court which could sentence to him to prison. Or before a commissioner who could suspend him for months. Or before a Wizards team executive who could try to void a contract that will pay him close to $100 million in its remaining term. It's time to get serious and to get off Twitter.

To read the rest, click here. This Q/A was further discussed by Martha Neil of the ABA Journal and I spoke with Bill Myers of the Washington Examiner about Arenas, as well. Largely unrelated to Arenas, but wanted to mention -- Dan Fitzgerald of Connecticut Sports Law has a terrific top list of sports law stories from 2009, with the number one being college coaches contracts and the law. Hope you have a chance to check out the links and discussion.



Well this is not good for her but hey I think he has to talk the hit and hopefully nothing further will happen life goes on for us all. Alot are in worst places man

Anonymous Jedivid -- 1/07/2010 7:54 AM  

Gilbert Arenas is an idiot! I hope he never plays in the NBA again. He should be handed a harsh prison sentence for his actions. I hope he doesn’t get a light sentence just because he is a professional athlete.

Blogger -- 1/23/2010 6:58 PM  

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