Gilbert Arenas is scheduled to appear at the Washington Wizards' preseason-opening media day on Monday, marking his official return to the NBA after—after what, again? Commissioner David Stern would rather you didn't say. It was very important for everyone to pay attention to Arenas'
eight months ago, when Stern made it clear that he would absolutely not tolerate players bringing unloaded guns into the locker room. But now the
theater of discipline
has rung down its curtain.
The Washington Post
NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke with Arenas on Tuesday to express his excitement about having Arenas back in the league after the lengthy banishment, and he told Arenas he can talk about anything going forward - except the infamous dispute last December involving guns. Stern later called Wizards owner Ted Leonsis to inform him public comments from the organization about the situation are also off limits. Stern wants Arenas and the Wizards to put it all behind them.
Got it? David Stern has withdrawn his permission to discuss the whole incident. Arenas doesn't even get a
Michael Vick redemption narrative
out of the whole mess. The franchise's most popular player
became a nonperson
, and now the commissioner has made him a person again, but the person is not allowed to mention the process he went through. The process is now a nonprocess. Like Mark McGwire, Arenas is
Not Here to Talk About the Past
. Because the ignore-the-past PR approach
worked out so very well
for baseball, right?
Not to second-guess the commissioner. No one gets to do that. It is time to move on to new subjects. Suggestions?
"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."
How has this team been constructed? (After its best player was suspended, all the other stars were traded away, and the roster was completely rebuilt.)
Is Arenas excited about playing again? (Who wouldn't be, after having been suspended for so long?)
Is he healthy? (Did his bad knee have a chance to heal in all the extra months he wasn't playing, because he was suspended?)
How will he work with No. 1 draft pick John Wall? (The Wizards got the No. 1 pick by winning the draft lottery, after having the worst record in the league, after blowing up their roster, after their best player was suspended.)
Maybe reporters should just ask about something safer, like