Basketball Star Ja Morant’s Gun Videos Leads to A Suspension for 25 Games
By: Anna Chuang
On Friday, June 16, 23-year-old Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies was suspended for 25 games after he was seen in a video posted to social media waving a gun around carelessly.
Morant is an American professional basketball player that has gained a lot of popularity, with a total of 12.5 million followers on Instagram and Twitter, and was the second pick in the 2019 N.B.A. draft. Currently, Morant lives in a city that has had a rising rate of gun violence over the past few years. Memphis, Tennessee has frequent mass shootings and mismanagement of guns.
The N.B.A. has been raising awareness for victims of gun violence for several years, and numerous athletes and coaches have spoken out about this topic. Morant’s reckless posts of waving a gun around carelessly risked the Association’s efforts to raise awareness for gun safety measures. If the N.B.A chose to let Morant’s actions pass, people would start questioning their morals. Even if someone is extremely talented, doing one unacceptable act can hamper your image. This is why the N.B.A. had to make sure they show that they don’t tolerate this behavior, or else people will think that they also don’t care at all. Therefore, Morant’s actions require a consequence, especially because guns are very powerful weapons and can lead to life or death situations.
In 2010, Gilbert Arenas, another American professional basketball player from the N.B.A, was suspended for 50 games after he threatened another teammate with a gun in the locker room as a joke. According to The New York Times, Arenas said, “I think it affected—I don’t even want to say legacy—my name. 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.”
Despite the circumstances, Morant seems to be aware of his wrongdoings, and has made efforts to make up for what he did. As stated in The New York Times, he said, “To the kids who look up to me, I’m sorry for failing you as a role model. I promise I’m going to be better. To all of my sponsors, I’m going to be a better representation of our brands. And to all of my fans, I’m going to make it up to you, I promise.”