Knicks’ Felton Arrest Sparks NBA Controversy


Knicks’ Raymond Felton was arrested on Tuesday evening and charged with one count of criminal possession of weapon in the third degree and another count of criminal possession of a firearm, but this news also sparked controversy in NBA because the guard could be allowed to continue playing for his team. The basketball player is expected to practice Wednesday and play on Thursday against Miami, and Knicks could have no other option but to allow him to play. According to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, a team cannot discipline a player solely on an arrest, which might mean that Felton is free to play.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank stated that the league is monitoring Knicks’ guard’s situation, but after having paid a bail of $25,000 and having committed a felony outside the NBA property, the player can not only play, but also travel with his team. Court was adjourned until June 2, but the charges could pose a problem to the game scheduled on April 11 against Toronto Raptors, since the basketball player might not be permitted to enter Canadian soil. Knicks’ Felton’s arrest sparkled NBA controversy referring to other cases like Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas, who were allowed to play basketball even if they were involved in ongoing legal cases.

The Knicks could try to finish the guard’s contract under Clause 16 of the NBA’s Uniform Player Contract, which states that if a player neglects or does not want “to conform his personal conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character and good sportsmanship,” his contract can be terminated. Felton is expected to earn $3.6 million this season, $3.7 million the upcoming season and $4.0 million in 2015-16.

The Core of the Problem

New York Knicks guard supposedly waved a FNH model 5.7×28 millimeter caliber semiautomatic pistol with about 18 rounds of live ammunition at his wife on Valentine’s Day, but the estranged spouse told the police that the incident was the second time in a month that he threatened her with the weapon.

“When we’d have arguments over our marriage, he would pull out the gun and wave it,” Ariane Raymundo-Felton,24, said. “It was obviously done to intimidate me.”

The estranged wife filed for divorce last week and sources mentioned that the primary cause was that the NBA player was unfaithful to his spouse. However, even though the couple was estranged, the first-year student at Fordham Law School was still living in their shared home.

Felton’s wife told the police that she waited until her husband went to Madison Square Garden for the Knicks’ game against the Dallas Mavericks, called her divorce lawyer and demanded the player’s attorney get the basketballer to come get the gun, but when he refused, the estranged spouse took the gun and headed to the police  station. Knicks’ Felton turned himself in after the game, but his arrest sparked NBA controversy because he is supposedly still allowed to play. Whether he will face NBA suspension or not is uncertain at the moment, but cases like Arenas’ suspension on January 6, 2010 suggest that basketballers charged with a crime can still play.

However, the difference between the two NBA players is that Arenas made hand gestures which imitated firing off a gun on court, while Knicks’ guard was arrested after his estranged wife brought an unregistered weapon to the police, 11 days after he reportedly waved it at her. Felton’s arrest sparked NBA controversy with regard to the players’ ability to play after they have been charged with a felony, but the Knicks refused to comment.

By Gabriela Motroc

ESPN New York
New York Post
New York Daily News

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