The perception within the US is that gun violence is at an all-time high. So when videos of one of the most exciting players in the NBA openly carrying guns in public settings keep going viral, it is not a good look for the NBA.
The player in question is Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies.
On Saturday, a video of Morant flashing a pistol while sitting in a car appeared on social media. As one would expect, it went viral. He was seen in an Instagram Live video holding the gun and rapping to a song by NBA Youngboy.
The Grizzlies immediately suspended Morant from all team activities. I am not sure what this means since Memphis’ season is over. Meanwhile, the NBA stated they are investigating the incident.
It’s not the first time the NBA has had to investigate Morant. Just two months ago, he got suspended for eight games for “holding a firearm while intoxicated” inside a Colorado strip club. He spent 11 days at a Florida counseling facility and told us he is now “more responsible.”
So much for his proclamation. But clearly not responsible enough.
Speaking of the word responsible, critics have been quick to blame Morant for how his team’s season ended. Memphis was seeded second in the West, but got bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. After their humbling 125-85 loss to the Lakers on April 28, Morant acknowledged his own part in it. He spoke of how he has to be better with his decision-making and how off-the-court issues cost the team.
Again, talk is cheap.
Reports coming out of Memphis is that Morant is starting to embrace a gangster-like lifestyle. This choice is likely to be costly. His first suspension led him to not achieving All-NBA status. Based on the current NBA salary structure, that transgression likely cost him close to $40 million.
Transgression number-two will also cost Morant millions. NBA pundits are talking about the NBA looking at suspending Morant up to 41 games, a half season.
Morant is one of the most popular players in the game. I read where he has 9.6 million followers on Instagram and 2.7 million on Twitter. His loyal fans will be quick to point out that Morant has not been charged with a crime. The NBA will counter that his behavior falls under the collective bargaining agreement vague “conduct detrimental to the league clause.”
Morant clearly has judgment problems. And they are bad judgements. His gun-toting behavior is an image the NBA will not tolerate.