There’s always a double standard with athletes and Regular Joes when it comes to the justice system. I could go on and on naming the many instances when athletes received the benefit of the doubt when in trouble with the law. It happens all the time and it will continue to happen, and that’s just the way it is in our society.
When Raymond Felton got arrested early Tuesday morning on felony gun charges, memories of Plaxico Burress and Gilbert Arenas came to mind. It was almost expected that no matter what happened, Felton would be out on bail and back with the team shortly after. On Wednesday, when Felton briefly spoke to the media, not once did he say, “I’m sorry.” He said this issue will not be a distraction to the team. I have a problem with this.
This is a country built on being innocent until proven guilty. As more details emerge from Felton’s arrest, it’s clear that no matter what he’s guilty or not guilty of, he was at fault. He didn’t fire a gun or bring weapons into the locker room, but allegedly, he threatened his soon to be ex-wife with a gun. Here is my problem — the gun contained 18 rounds of live ammunition. Felton’s wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, turned the gun into police and said that Felton threatened her with it. Whether he threatened her or not, Felton acknowledged that the gun was his by turning himself in. He didn’t apologize at all on Wednesday and is playing tonight against the Miami Heat.
Felton is already guilty of possessing a weapon that he shouldn’t have had, and the gun contained 18 rounds of live ammunitio. Yet, he is going to play as a member of the NBA and the New York Knicks two days later. Am I missing something? Not only should the Knicks not let Felton dress for the game, he should be suspended. Heck, the NBA should suspend Felton indefinitely for this. I am struggling to find a clue as to how Felton can get the benefit of the doubt in this case when he clearly acknowledged that the loaded gun was his. What kind of message are we sending to America, NBA?
If a normal, hard-working person had done the same thing as Felton, they’d probably still be in jail and would most likely be fired from their job. All it took was $25,000 for Felton to be released and now he’ll be on the court for the Knicks when they play the Heat. It’s not even like Felton is a star player who needs to be playing to give the Knicks a chance to win; it was only a week ago when they were trying as hard as they could to trade him.
The Knicks organization is losing a lot of respect by refusing to do anything in light of this recent arrest, and the least Felton could do is say he’s sorry for the distraction. Shame on you, Felton. Shame on you, NBA. This is just the way the season has gone for the Knicks and I’m waiting for the final knockout blow that will end their season for good. But more importantly, this is just another example of how American athletes are allowed to do whatever they please without immediate repercussions.