Washington Wizards starting point guard Gilbert Arenas is being investigated by the NBA and his team for possibly violating league rules in regard to weapons possession.
News of the investigation was first reported by CBSSports.com on Thursday afternoon. Later on Christmas Eve, the Wizards and Arenas released statements on the matter.
"The Washington Wizards have learned that Gilbert Arenas stored firearms in a locked container in his locker, unloaded and without ammunition," the Wizards' statement read. "The Wizards organization and Arenas promptly notified the local authorities and the NBA and are cooperating fully with law enforcement during its review of this matter and will have no further comment at this time."
In a phone interview with The Washington Times, Arenas said he had guns at his home, but following the Dec. 9 birth of his third child, daughter Hamiley Penny, he decided he didn't want the weapons anywhere his children could get to them. So on Dec. 10, Arenas brought them to Verizon Center, where he stored them in his lockbox until he could figure out what to do with them. A week later, he turned the guns over to team security and asked that they be turned over to the D.C. police.
"I wouldn't have brought them to D.C. had I known the rules," Arenas said. "After my daughter was born, I was just like, I don't need these anymore. I don't want them around the kids. We are working with the league and the authorities."
Arenas does not face any criminal charges in the incident. He missed the season opener in 2004-05 after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor for possessing a concealed weapon and driving without a license in 2003.
The NBA permits players to have guns but does not allow them on league property or during league business. He could faced a fine or suspension from the league, but no ruling had been made as of Thursday evening.
The most recent case of an NBA player violating weapons policy and receiving punishment came in 2006 when Sebastian Telfair - then a member of the Portland Trail Blazers - was fined an undisclosed amount of money after a loaded handgun that was registered under his girlfriend's name was found on the team plane at Boston's Logan International Airport.
Cleveland's Delonte West is facing weapons charges after being arrested in Upper Marlboro in September and indicted on two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon, two counts of carrying a handgun, two counts of transporting a handgun, a count of reckless driving and a count of negligent driving. West's case is still pending.
Arenas is working his way back from an injury-plagued two years in which he underwent three knee surgeries. He has played in all 27 of the Wizards' games this season, averaging 22.2 points and 6.9 assists.