- The Washington Times - Monday, November 10, 2003

Gilbert Arenas didn’t know why Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan benched him in the third quarter of the 111-98 loss to Cleveland on Saturday, so he and Jordan sat down for 15 minutes yesterday and cleared up the situation.

“Oh, he definitely let me know, and now I understand,” said Arenas, who didn’t want to go into much detail yesterday. “It has a lot to do with me being a leader on this team. There are some things that you have to do as a leader, and he wanted to make sure that I understood it. He didn’t want to leave it hanging in the air so that it becomes a problem later in the season.”

Arenas said the meeting following a team film session at MCI Center was friendly, adding he now understands why Jordan was “ticked off at me.”

Jordan said following the game that he benched Arenas for “disciplinary reasons, and I’m going to leave it at that.” However, he alluded to other incidents — including some unsportsmanlike actions Friday night in a rout of the Toronto Raptors — in which some of the Wizards showed a “disrespect for the game.” Jordan did not name names but said it was something he didn’t want to see continue.

On Saturday, Arenas had blamed the loss that ended the Wizards’ two-game winning streak partly on Jordan’s decision to bench him. But yesterday Arenas admitted he would have played in the third quarter had he not been doing some things that “coach let slide” earlier.

In the heated moments following the loss, Arenas said he did not know what he had done wrong. When asked whether he might have been benched for throwing the game ball into the stands at halftime after the Wizards had rallied from a six-point deficit to lead 47-46, Arenas did not have an answer.

Arenas pointed out he was not called for a technical foul, and he was not informed by Jordan during halftime what he had done to merit benching. He said it would have been better if Jordan had come up with a fine instead.

Arenas, who will start tomorrow against Philadelphia, said the matter was over.

“Honestly, he cleared everything up. I know why he benched me,” Arenas said. “The bottom line is that you have to treat everyone fair. I have no problem with that. There are rules that you have to follow. … I understand why I got disciplined. It’s over.”


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