Morant was caught on camera, brandishing a gun, for a second time. His first offense stemmed from being caught on surveillance with a gun in a strip club. The NBA suspended Morant for eight games without pay. After this most recent incident, it was felt that the league needed to be harsher, and rightfully so.
In the aftermath of the second offense, there was much discussion about identity politics and how it relates to being a professional athlete. It’s true that Morant is representing a billion-dollar organization. But it’s also true that he is responsible for himself and his own safety. At 24 years old, you’re certainly bound to make some silly decisions. But an athlete at the level of Morant has to be more mindful.
One of the biggest principles to keep top of mind is that as Black people, the rules will always be different. As Black people, we’re held to higher standards of conduct. We simply can’t afford to have the same amount of louse-ups as a white person. Now as it stands currently, Morant has been given his chances. This could be one of the last ones that the NBA can afford to give. This is in part because Morant continued this behavior after being reprimanded once. In real-time, it came off as a slap in the face.
The last thing the NBA needs is players giving the optics that they bump authority. Certainly, they don’t need that in the fashion of a star player cavalierly waving a gun. So in that respect, Morant brought the majority of this attention and admonishment on himself. I truly hope that he’ll be better.
Serving a 25-game suspension, in my opinion, is still pretty generous. I’m not mad at it, but it’s my hope that Morant is using this time constructively. For him to not miss at least half of this NBA season, really is a blessing for him. Morant is a superstar talent. We all love to watch him play, and we understand that if he stays healthy, and out of trouble, he can become an all-time great.
It isn’t easy growing up with all the cameras on you. Having a support system that holds you accountable is paramount. The types of behavior that Morant was exhibiting on camera, could possibly put him or his family in danger. People in every city might want to test his gangsta’. As ignorant as it sounds, it is a reality. And if you’re not “like that,” then you have no business trying to portray it. Ultimately, the goal is to not self-sabotage your future, and Ja Morant has a bright one.