Today in sports: Former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas checks in from NBA exile, that homey touch is missing in Green Bay, and a reason for Seattle to curb its NBA enthusiasm.
Former Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas -- once a delightful and compelling NBA oddball -- has been in a downward spiral since the December 2009 incident where he brought guns into the Wizards locker room during an argument with teammate Jarvaris Crittenton over gambling debts. He was suspended for the remainder of the season by the league and ultimately traded to Orlando the following December. He was ineffective after the trade and was waived by the team in December. His first interview since being released is wide-ranging, earnest, and incredibly sad. He talks about making a comeback (indeed, the Los Angeles Lakers recently had him in for a workout, but chose not to sign him) but notes that his training regimen involves taking spin classes at an Orlando-area YMCA. Even though Orlando waived him, they still have to pay him $63 million over the next three years, but Arenas doesn't sound like someone that excited about trying to reclaim his interrupted career. He calls the NBA a "fantasy" multiple times, and says nobody sees him for who he really is, because ""I'm in my house all the time." [SI.com]
The Green Bay Packers have done almost everything right in recent years, but there's at least some concern from current and former employees that the "increasing corporatization" of America's only publicly-owned pro sports franchise has the potential to drive a wedge between the town and the front office. The blame for that is going to CEO and team president Mark Murphy, who got the job four years ago. While the club has thrived under Murphy, morale among employees is not what it used to be, which some feel is a byproduct of Murphy's "distant" management style. One current employee complains that the club "doesn’t feel very family oriented” under Murphy. Also, for the first time in history, the club doesn't have "a president or No. 2 administrator with long ties to the team and Wisconsin." In Green Bay's case, that matters, since the team relies on the community to sign off on critical spending issues. [Green Bay Press-Gazette]