Virginia Bianco-Mathis
University professor, author

Virginia Bianco-Mathis

Business department chair of management programs at Marymount University and author of two books on executive coaching.

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Drunken success

Yes, Gilbert Arenas exhibited a combination of arrogance and stupidity in this whole gun-fueled locker room confrontation. A certain percentage of successful people reach a drunken stage of "entitlement" and believe they are above the laws and ethics of the rest of us. They take risks others won't because they believe they can lie themselves out of it or hire enough resources to mitigate the damage.

Second, unlike the rest of us, successful people have the resources to bounce back--as long as they don't fall too far down in the hole. Bill Clinton is still an ambassador for the United States, Martha Stewart is back on TV, and Tiger Woods is about to return to playing golf. It's the age-old story of the "haves" and "have nots." Unfortunately, O.J. went too far and no amount of money has been able to save him from himself.

Third, because successful people can't breathe without it becoming a federal case, every misstep is plastered in the news and becomes monumental. As outrageous as it seems, Arenas did not "get off easier" than Joe Everyman. He had a clean record, and no one was hurt. Most of us would have gotten the same punishment.

By Virginia Bianco-Mathis  |  March 29, 2010; 11:24 AM ET  | Category:  squandering success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The previous gun charge was also bogus and due to racial profiling. That's why nobody made a big deal out of it. He was commuting from Arizona to the Golden State to join the Warriors and gets pulled. The cops saw something in the glove compartment when Gilbert reach for registration. Talking about cops just looking for stuff. Geez!! He had a license for the gun in Arizona but not in California. This is hardly a criminal we're talking about folks.

Posted by: kentonsmith | March 31, 2010 5:00 PM
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The judge's compassion in sentencing Arenas was appropriate in this instance. Arenas may have been able to resurrect his career after serving time but what good would have been done in send him to jail? He deserves a second and third chance if need be at achieving success as a "whole" person and not just a basketball player. For the most part, I agree with Bianco-Mathis, except when she describes Arenas' behavior as arrogant rather than juvenile and immature. Those traits don't warrant jail time. After all, he's paid to play.

Posted by: NoName20020 | March 31, 2010 10:11 AM
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Not only did Arenas take four guns to work, he lied about why he did it three times before he finally broke down and told the truth. He'll be back at work soon.

If I EVER carried a gun to work--much less four--I would be fired immediately and taken to court post-haste. I have no idea how I'd get another decent job. My career would be over, and not one person in this world would be rationalizing it or sparing me any pity. PERIOD.

Posted by: EdgewoodVA | March 30, 2010 10:50 AM
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He did have a previous weapons possession plea, so his record was not completely clean. I think the judge agreed with the defense that there was not an intent to harm. He has lost a season playing in the NBA, millions of dollars and is required to do 400 hours of community service, so he is not getting off scot free either.

Posted by: verbal8 | March 30, 2010 10:33 AM
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