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Ex-Raps coach Mitchell shares thoughts about Arenas on OTR

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TSN.ca Staff
1/7/2010 9:08:30 PM
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The National Basketball Association suspended Gilbert Arenas indefinitely without pay for a December incident involving hand guns in the Washington Wizards locker room.

On Thursday, former NBA player and Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell joined Michael Landsberg on TSN's Off the Record to share his thoughts.

Mitchell, a hand gun owner, spent 13 seasons as a player and told Landsberg that he never once saw a hand gun in a locker room over his time in the NBA.

"After these things came out it was shocking and I can understand why everyone is so upset.” said Mitchell. "It's upsetting to think of a gun in any work place and you never think of a gun in a professional locker room."

The facts that the guns were not loaded and Arenas has a reputation as a jokester did not impact Mitchell's take on the issue.  

"The old saying says 'that guns don't kill people, stupid people with guns kill people,' so there is no joking around when there is something that can kill someone." 

For Mitchell, the most troubling aspect of the incident was the way Arenas reacted afterward and he fully understands why David Stern and the NBA took action.

"Having the gun in the locker room is a no-no and that is upsetting enough, but the commissioner and more people are upset that [Arenas] doesn't understand the severity of what he did. And that is the thing that is blowing people's minds.

"It's not a joking matter, you don't tweet about it, you don't joke about, it is something you don't make hand gestures about."

The former coach thinks that the player's union will be able to help Arenas understand the severity of the infraction and that in time he will be back in the NBA.

"I believe if Gilbert learns his lesson and pays the price, whatever that price will be that the commissioner hands it down, and he pays his price understanding what he did, then I think he will be given the opportunity to play again."

Mitchell went on to comment that the way the NBA handled the incident should be a straightforward message to the rest of the league. 

"Gilbert is a quirky guy, but he is not a bad guy and you hate to see something like this happen, but at the end of the day, he and other players who have thought of bringing a gun into the locker room have to understand it is a huge no-no and won't be tolerated. I think David Stern sent that message loud and clear."

Sam Mitchell (Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
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