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Are We Too Hard On Celebrities, Or Too Easy On Them?

By: Benjamin He

Gun violence has been a problem in America for…a long time. From the Jamestown Massacre to present-day school shootings, gunshot fatalities, and wounds, an issue as American as apple pie.

And unfortunately, most of these incidents end in tragic ways for both the victim and the culprit.

However, with gun violence now one of the tensest topics in the U.S., you could get in trouble for waving a gun around, especially when you’re famous.

Recently, one of the N.B.A.’s youngest superstars, Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies, was suspended for 25 games after posting a video of himself waving a gun in a car.

It wasn’t great for both 23-year-old Morant or the NBA. It was exceptional, well, not great when people realized that this was the second time that this had happened.

Currently, Morant is one of the most popular point guards in the NBA, with over 12.5 million followers across Twitter and Instagram. A video of him waving a gun during a time when gun violence is one of the apprehensive topics, however, wasn’t a good move.

According to Tamika Tramaglio, the executive NBA director players’ union, his punishment was “excessive and appropriate.” Tramaglio added that the union would “explore with Ja all options and next steps.” The N.B.A. said it had suspended Morant for conduct detrimental to the league.

The first time that this had happened, Morant had been suspended for 8 games after laughing with a firearm in a nightclub in early March.

That makes quite a bit of “justifiable” punishment for Morant for those two incidents, but what if it wasn’t justifiable?

What if, and I’m just talking a bit hypothetical here, we are just a tad too hard on our celebrities?

Hear me out: as Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards, who claimed he was joking after threatening teammate Javarias Crittenton in the locker room with guns, said himself, “It affected it really bad. I said it back then, where the most disappointing part of it all is I did 100 things right. I did one wrong thing and that’s all everyone remembers. That’s what really hurts you the most.”

Nowadays, with the internet and everything, it feels like anyone who gets famous also gets that bad part of popularity: Everyone’s tracking your every move.

Take Mel Gibson as an example. He was a talented actor and director, but then he made anti-Semitic remarks during a DUI arrest, which smashed a hole in his career.

This happens a lot, too. Johnny Depp bringing his dogs into Australia. Justin Bieber’s visit to the Anne Frank House.

The lesson we can take from this? If you are planning to get famous, don’t screw up.

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