Athletes and Guns: Why Do the Two So Often Go Hand in Hand?

Gilbert Arenas is an NBA basketball star known for firing shots on the court, but now he's under fire for alleged gun play off the court.

On December 21, after a game in Philadelphia, Arenas allegedly brought as many as four handguns into the Washinton Wizards locker room as part of a dispute over a gambling debt with teammate Jarvis Crittendon, who allegedly responded by pulling and loading a gun of his own.

The incident stayed quiet until Christmas day. Then, a firestorm of shifting stories and police investigations started.

VIDEO: With Gilbert Arenas suspension, concerns arise about athletes and illegal guns.Play

At first, Arenas played it off as a practical joke, saying "bad judgment happened."

But the bigger concern may be how familiar these episodes have become in sport.

Ben Brafman, a criminal defense attorney, said, "I am not surprised that professional basketball players are armed and that they carry weapons into locker rooms."

Male professional athletes and guns have gone together often. In the NBA alone there's been a gun-related player suspension almost every year since 2002.

In September, LeBron James' teammate Delonte West was charged with illegal gun handgun posession.

Former NBA star Jayson Williams, awaiting retrial for manslaughter, was also arrested for illegal gun possession.

And in the NFL, star receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself with a handgun in a nightclub. He was convicted of illegal posession, and sentenced to two years in prison.

Arenas did say he was sorry -- but he wasn't always acting that way in his Twitter feeds to fans:

"I wake up this morning and I seen I was the new John Wayne….LMAO [laughing my a** off]"

Athletes and Guns: the Gilbert Arenas Case

Then he was seen in a pregame warm-up this week pretending his fingers were guns he pointed at his teammates.

That was enough for NBA Commissioner David Stern: he suspended Arenas indefinitely.

Even Reverend Al Sharpton called for Arenas to be punished for his actions. In a piece in the Washington Post he accusing the league of being soft, writing, "It's almost as if people are saying, 'Well, we don't expect anything better from our black athletes.'"

While criminal charges are still up in the air, Arenas' bank account has already been hit: each game he misses will cost him an estimated $147,200.

But the price of gunplay could be much higher.