【N.J】 How Should the NBA have Handled Ja Morant? – – – New Jersey News

#NBA #Handled #Morant #-

The National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended Memphis Grizzlies ALL-STAR guard Ja Morant, considered one of the future faces of the NBA, for eight days without pay ($660,000) for conduct detrimental to the league after he appeared in an Instagram live video early on the morning of March 4 “holding a firearm in an intoxicated state” while visiting a suburban Denver nightclub, according to a league statement. NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver indicated that “Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially dangerous and has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him.”

During the Instagram Live stream that he initiated, Morant can be seen dancing and rapping shirtless to a song and with a gun in his left hand.  The location of the incident, the Shotgun Willie’s strip club, is located 5 miles outside of Denver in Glendale where it’s apparently legal to brandish a gun. Had the incident occurred in Denver, it would have been illegal and Morant could have been criminally charged. If that were the case, the NBA might have had to do something more serious in the way of punishment than just a suspension.

Morant said the gun at the center of the club incident did not belong to him, but said he took “full responsibility” for his actions.

This was not the first time that Morant has displayed inappropriate anti-social behavior. The first sign of trouble was an incident involving his entourage and Indiana Pacer staffers. The run-in reportedly ended with the staffers claiming someone in Morant’s SUV had aimed a red laser at them after a Grizzlies game, believed by a security guard to be a gun.

In another incident, Morant was reported to have allegedly assaulted a 17-year-old teenager and threatened him with a gun during a pick-up game at his house last summer.  And in another incident, Morant allegedly threatened the head of security at a Memphis mall after Morant’s mother got into a dispute with a store employee.  No criminal charges were filed against Morant for any of the incidents.

My initial reaction upon hearing about Morant brandishing a gun and getting suspended for a few games was here we go again – another example of the NBA not coming down hard enough on an entitled superstar regardless of how deplorable his behavior is. I was disturbed that Morant didn’t get suspended for a very long time.  I was hoping that doing this would send a clear message that the NBA will not tolerate anti-social behaviors and derogatory racial, religious on sexual comments and tropes no matter how skilled the player was.

Likewise, I was initially put off by the notion expressed by Kurt Streeter in a New York Times op-ed entitled “Ja Morant’s Impact Can Be Bigger Than Basketball” that Morant was somehow the victim in what occurred and needed to be cut some slack because “It cannot be overlooked that to be young, Black and famous these days is to be ever aware of danger. There have been plenty of recent stories about young athletes being robbed at gunpoint. The former Celtic star Paul Pierce recently admitted he’d carried a gun, as is his right, because he felt he needed the protection after nearly being stabbed to death in a Boston nightclub. …To Morant, acting rough, tough and brazen may not have been a form of pressure release, but a form of pre-emptive “don’t mess with me” self-defense.  I am not seeking to absolve Morant, but it is important to show a bit of complexity of the situation he finds himself in, and the impact his choices can have on people who look like him.”

After thinking about it a great deal, Kurt Streeter is right when he describes the situation as complex and it requires a nuanced response, not just stringent punishment.  I don’t think we should give up on Ja Morant or excuse away his bad behavior.  Instead, his team and the NBA should try to help Morant make some changes in his life — whether or not that leads to a change in his actions will be up to Morant.

It has been reported by ESPN that during his suspension Morant got help and began working on learning better methods of dealing with stress, his overall well-being, and his behavioral problems. I sincerely hope that continues and that he can include inserting some stable role models into his entourage.

We are unfortunately living in a world where 23-year-olds are too often role models rather than community elders who have seen it all and can provide valuable perspective and guidance.  Ja Morant plays for the Memphis Grizzlies in the same city where the brutal murder of Tyre Nicols occurred at the hands of young Memphis police officers.  I often think that Tyre’s murder could have been avoided had an experienced supervisor showed up and stopped what was going on.  Similarly, I hope that Ja Morant’s life can be turned around if a seasoned mentor with “street creed” can enter his life.

Irwin Stoolmacher is president of the Stoolmacher Consulting Group, a fundraising and strategic planning firm that works with nonprofit agencies that serve the truly needy among us.

Read More Latest News From United States of New Jersey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *