The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins gets at the core of what’s eating all of us who have loved following Gilbert Arenas for the last few years:
Arenas is in trouble because he doesn’t know who he is, because he play-acted the most harmful depiction imaginable. He’s a maker of manners in a city where violent crime occurs at three times the national average, yet he showed zero cognizance of that fact. He’s in trouble because he seems profoundly disconnected from himself and his community. The District’s gun laws have been headlined and debated incessantly, news he apparently found beyond his personal concern. He’s in trouble because he didn’t devote even a passing thought to the ideas held by men whose faces are tattooed on his body, whose profiles are stained and ink-scarred in his very skin. He’s divorced from his own limbs.
Like most people who have watched Arenas over the last few years, I’ve always liked him immensely. I believe he’s an essentially gentle man, edgy but not malicious, and that his lightness is genuine. Humor is an understandable and damn effective mechanism for coping with pain. But it’s time he defined who exactly he intends to be in this world. The Gilbert we’ve had up to now is a figment, a sketch. He has all the substance of a tattoo.