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Del Negro calls Arenas situation ‘unfortunate'
by Sam Smith
Posted on Jan 15
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By Adam Fluck
With the Washington Wizards in town to face the Bulls at the United Center on Friday night and Head Coach Vinny Del Negro meeting the media for his pregame remarks, not once was he asked a basketball-related question.
Rather, the focus was on Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, who pleaded guilty earlier in the day to carrying a pistol without a license in the District of Columbia, a felony conviction that could jeopardize his future in the NBA.
The former All-Star was charged Thursday with felony gun possession in connection with a Dec. 21 locker room confrontation involving teammate Javaris Crittenton. Arenas was suspended indefinitely by NBA commissioner David Stern on Jan. 6.
“My only reaction is it’s just a very unfortunate situation,” said Del Negro.
When asked if the Bulls had a team policy regarding guns, Del Negro responded: “We have a lot of policies and rules, as far as cards and gambling, but the Washington thing is a very difficult subject. It’s unfortunate and it’s not good for the game, the Wizards, the league, or the fans. You just have to try and get through it. It’s not an easy situation; it’s a very touchy and serious situation, and it should be.”
Del Negro also touched on the prevalence of guns among players during his career.
“Some guys had guns,” he acknowledged. “But it was a different time and a different era and a different focus. From all the things from a technology standpoint and media standpoint and everything that’s involved now, times have changed. But there’s no question that back when I played guys had guns.”
As for the game itself, it will be the Bulls’ last until Feb. 2 as the team heads west for a seven-game road trip. Chicago has won 10 of its last 15 meetings against Washington and eight of the last 10 in the Windy City. The Bulls won last year’s series versus the Wizards 3-1.
Bulls assisting in Haitian relief efforts
The Bulls are assisting UNICEF with their on-going relief efforts from the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. During Friday's game, the Bulls will donate all net proceeds from the 50/50 Raffle ticket sales and in-arena auctions to UNICEF in support of rescue and relief efforts. Additionally, the team will match every dollar that is raised.
Throughout the game, the Bulls will run scoreboard messages, radio, television and public address announcements encouraging fans to assist by texting "HAITI" to "90999" to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts. The donation will be charged to the donor's cell phone bill.
In response to the disaster, the Bulls will also hold an emergency relief drive on Feb. 2 to help provide important bare essentials to Haiti. All fans can assist in the ongoing emergency relief efforts in Haiti by visiting www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake or calling 1.800.4UNICEF. Visit Bulls.com/haitirelief for more details.