Star athletes get out of jail free
People in this nation are supposed to be treated equally in the name of the law. Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas was no doubt thanking his lucky stars that he wasn't sentenced fairly for a misdemeanor earlier this year.
The All-Star point guard was just beginning to get his legs back underneath him after a near two-year absence from the NBA due to various injuries. Although the team was performing poorly compared to their high hopes for a championship, Arenas was beginning to play like he had before all of the setbacks; averaging nearly 23 points and 7 assists, almost identical to his career numbers.
But something happened that no one could ever have predicted. Gilbert Arenas and backup point guard Javaris Crittenton where gambling on the team's private plane during a flight back to Washington on Dec. 19 when they allegedly had an argument over some money that resulted in both guards bringing guns to the locker room.
According to ESPN.com, Arenas brought the guns supposedly to "keep away from his children." Right. Anyone with a pulse knows darn well that was not the situation.
Both guards were suspended for the rest of the season without pay.
Furthermore, Arenas pleaded guilty to arms possession on Jan. 15, 2010. The hearing was held a few days ago.
According to CNN.com, Arenas stated that he "is very sorry that this all happened." More amusing were Arenas' comments when a picture of him miming shooting a gun was shown to the jury.
"That picture where I was pointing my finger [like a gun], I thought the 14 or 15 players are laughing together for maybe the last time. I like to make people laugh. That's who I am," Arenas told the court.
Superior Court Justice Robert Morin was clearly not laughing, although Arenas should send him a thank you card for handing him such light punishment.
Arenas was sentenced to two years supervised probation, 30 days in a halfway house, 400 hours of community service and forced to donate $5,000 to a fund for victims of violence.
For an NBA All-Star point guard making over $100 million in five years, $5,000 is pocket change.
Government prosecutors advised a three-month jail term, which Judge Morin reluctantly rejected.
It is sickening to see how fame and fortune change the punishments stars receive for crimes that would otherwise have been given a much tougher sentence.
According to ESPN.com, Kobe's sexual assault charges were completely dismissed. Michael Vick served nineteen months in prison for dog fighting charges, and Ray Lewis got only two years probation for double murder charges.
America, are you kidding me? Two years of probation for a double murder charge? If someone who could not afford a renowned attorney had done such a thing, they would have spent the rest of their days in a federal penitentiary.
ESPN's Lester Munson gave three valid reasons for why most stars are let off the hook.
Firstly, these athletes can afford the best lawyers. Their attorneys are clever and conniving and can make cold-blooded murder look incidental.
Secondly, police and law enforcement aren't willing to deal with the media coverage and attacks by those lawyers. It is not a legitimate excuse to lighten a sentence simply because you don't want to do your job in the face.
It's amazing how some people consider athletes like Arenas or Michael Vick to be incapable of committing any type of wrongdoing. What has to be understood is that these are common people with common failings.
They are everyday people that have extraordinary gifts, but the fact that they have these gifts does not give them the right to live above the law.
Judges must understand that while it may be difficult to prosecute these individuals to the highest capacity, it doesn't mean they should shy away from their responsibilities as an authoritative figure.
Justice is defined as the quality of being fair or impartial. Punishments that are neither fair nor impartial are unjust. Our country prides itself on being a just nation, but by allowing these star athletes to get off with such light sentences, we are not living up to that billing.