[to top of second column]
Arenas also said he's "staying in shape and finding causes to help, without all this publicity behind it." The athlete who used to make news regularly via blog, Twitter and outlandish comments in the locker room expressed surprise to find a reporter at the PETA event, and his short answers exhibited his preference to lay low.
His million-dollar smile came to life, however, for the people at Rachael's Women's Center, where the event was held. It might seem unusual for PETA to be giving away furs, but these were all donated by people who bought them, then had a change of heart and wanted to discard them for ethical reasons. Rather than throw them away, PETA accepts the furs and gives them to homeless people and others in need of a winter coat to stay warm.
Arenas helped the women try on the furs, giving advice on size and looks. Several asked for autographs, photos or hugs -- or a combination of all three -- and he complied every time. He was called "my favorite basketball player" by one woman and told by another how much the last-place Wizards need him back.
PETA approached Arenas about becoming a spokesman for the organization early in the season. It was coincidental that the organization released a photo of his tattooed bare chest with the slogan "Ink, Not Mink" the very week that he was initially suspended by NBA commissioner David Stern.
"Nothing that allegedly happened had anything to do with how animals are treated on farms or the issues that we advocate for as an organization," said Dan Shannon, director of campaigns for PETA. "If he wants to speak out about the cruelty in the fur industry, we want him to do that."
Arenas said he's never owned a fur. Being welcomed by PETA is a welcome change: The Wizards have kept their distance and his shoe company, Adidas, has dropped him altogether.
"It's just like anything. When something happens, everyone flees away," Arenas said. "So I already knew all that was going to happen. But PETA, they stayed behind me, they stayed with the cause, and that's the reason I came."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor