The Wizards player faces a long period away from the court without pay after joking about the incident and the media storm it created.
Arenas suspended after bringing guns to locker room
Arenas is under investigation by federal and local authorities after admitting to bringing guns to the locker room. Stern originally planned to wait to take action, but he tired of Arenas' behaviour. On Tuesday, a day after meeting with law enforcement officials, Arenas said he feared Stern more than the authorities because the commissioner was "mean". Though Arenas first apologised on Monday for his poor judgement and promised "to do better in the future," he also joked on Twitter about the incident and the media firestorm it created.
That was exactly the wrong tact for Stern, whose league has taken another public relations hit. "The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us," Stern said. "Although it is clear that the actions of Mr Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game," Stern said.
"Accordingly, I am suspending Mr Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA." With each game he misses, Arenas will lose about US$147,200 (Dh 540,665) of the $16.2m he will earn this season in the second of a six-year, $111m contract. The punishment came on his 28th birthday. "I feel very badly that my actions have caused the NBA to suspend me, but I understand why the league took this action," Arenas said.
"I put the NBA in a negative light and let down my teammates and our fans. I am very sorry for doing that." Arenas added that he had called Stern to apologise. "While I never intended any harm or disrespect to the NBA or anyone else, my gun possession at the Verizon Centre and my attempts at humor showed terrible judgment," he said. "I take full responsibility for my conduct." On the court, there was further frustration for the Wizards as they were thrashed 121-98 by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
LeBron James piled up 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in just three quarters for the Cavs, while Shaquille O'Neal added 17 points in 17 minutes. * AP