Ja Morant decided to live on the wire. And his sports career, which has experienced a lightning-like rise since landing in the professional universe just four years ago, may suffer the consequences. The Memphis Grizzlies point guard, who at 23 is already one of the most decisive players in the current NBA, is currently isolated from the franchise’s sports environment. A drastic measure but considered necessary as a result of his latest scandal.
In the early hours of last Saturday, March 4, hours after his team was defeated in a match played in Denver, Morant broadcast a direct on his personal Instagram account, with more than eight million followers, during which he saw the player holding in his left hand what, apparently, was a firearm.
Throughout the same Saturday, the young point guard would issue – through his agency, Tandem – a statement, in which he would apologize and show his repentance for what happened, declaring that he took “total responsibility” for his actions and suggesting that he withdraw from the field public to, according to the statement, “learn to better deal with stress.” By the way, the Grizzlies themselves would impose a sanction of at least two games without playing for Morant.
However, the commotion generated would be massive and, by now, unstoppable.
Colorado regulations make it illegal to carry firearms under the influence of alcohol. And although the Glendale Police Department (Denver, Colorado) would confirm that the incident took place in a club in a well-known nightlife area, its subsequent investigation determined that there was insufficient evidence to charge the player with a crime for his acts.
However, the danger for the young basketball star reaches other edges. In fact, some directly linked to the internal regime of the NBA itself. According to that code, players are not allowed to have firearms when they are in spaces derived from their profession, a circumstance that includes not only the obvious – the pavilions – but also places associated with the routine of an NBA franchise – that is, , those linked to his travels-.
Failure to comply with this regulation could lead to sanctions, promoted directly from the NBA Commissioner, which would produce an indefinite disqualification. The league itself recently clarified, through its spokesman Mike Bass, that it has also opened an investigation in this regard.
The scenario is, therefore, very problematic for a Morant for whom what happened in Denver does not represent, in any case, an isolated event. And it is that the player seemed to enter, since last summer, in an uncontrolled spiral that has already left several incidents of media scope.
According to information from The Washington Postthere was also a firearm involved in an episode, still under police study, which took place on July 26, 2022, weeks after Morant signed a contractual agreement with the Grizzlies whose figures will guarantee him some 183 million euros in the next five years.
That incident occurred during a basketball game, of a friendly nature and that mixed professional players with amateurs, played at the facilities of Morant’s mansion in Memphis. One of the participants, a minor, denounced that the NBA player hit him violently on more than ten occasions after a disagreement during the duel, in addition to maintaining that another person from Morant’s entourage – later identified as Davonte Pack – also hit him. assaulted and, at one point, Morant walked away from the scene to return with a firearm sticking out of his pants.
The Grizzlies player would give a statement to the police weeks later, after a complaint filed by the young man, stating that he only tried to defend himself. For his part, Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner, stated that the incident could not be proven.
Just four days before what happened in that game, a security agent would denounce the player for another event, this time produced in a Memphis shopping center, due to an argument between the player’s mother and a clerk in a shoe store. . After the problem, Jamie, the player’s mother, called her son, who appeared in a few minutes accompanied by “at least nine other people,” according to the complainant’s testimony to the Post.
After a verbal dispute ensued, the mall’s security director stated that he was threatened, that Morant and his companions refused to leave, and that one of them even hit him on the head.
This same season, at the end of January, Morant was involved in another incident, this time after a game played in Memphis against Indiana. As reported by The Athletic portal, the Pacers denounced that their bus was targeted by a laser, which their security officials identified as a firearm, from a van in which Morant was a passenger. That took place after a duel in which one of Morant’s inner circle members, Devonte Pack, was expelled for breaking onto the track seeking a confrontation with Pacers players. Pack would later be banned for a year without being able to attend Grizzlies games.
With Morant in the eye of the hurricane, both the player and the League find themselves in a delicate position. The first, due to the continuous incidents that have been devaluing his public image. The second, due to the effects that an even greater drift of events could have.
Not only because of the sinister memory of the episode thirteen years ago between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, also with firearms involved, but also because of the global damage caused by one of the faces of his new era, the sixth player with the greatest commercial impact. of the competition and, deep down, one of the great icons for the generations that begin to pay attention to the NBA, is in the spotlight for his behavior off the courts.
In the end, and the NBA itself promotes it, the players are not just players. And as such, they are expected to manage, from responsibility, their position. It is clear that it is not easy, to the point that the Morant case can test the very strength of the system.
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