Nike says it won’t cut ties with Ja Morant after 25-game ban as NBPA slams ‘excessive and inappropriate’ punishment for gun-waving star
- Ja Morant found himself in hot water in May after pointing a gun again
- But Nike stands by him as he serves a suspension next season
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Nike won’t cut ties with Ja Morant after the Grizzlies star received a 25-game NBA suspension for a second firearms offense this year.
Morant was originally suspended for eight games in March after he was seen brandishing a gun at a Denver nightclub, and showed a gun again in May while a passenger in a car.
Still, it looks like Nike will be supporting the Memphis All-Star, who has a signature shoe with the brand.
“We are delighted that Ja is taking responsibility and putting her well-being first,” the sportswear giant said in a statement, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “We will continue to support him on and off the pitch.”
Meanwhile, the NBA Players’ Association has called Morant’s punishment – which will keep him off the court until at least December – “excessive and inappropriate”.
Ja Morant was suspended 25 games by the NBA after this incident with a firearm in May
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Morant’s actions were ‘alarming and concerning’
Many fans believed Morant would be handed a longer suspension after commissioner Adam Silver said it would be “unfair” for Nuggets and Heat players to announce the suspension midway through the NBA Finals.
“Ja has expressed remorse and accepted responsibility for his actions, and we unequivocally support him as he does whatever is necessary to represent himself, our players and our league in the best possible light,” the executive director said Friday. of the NBPA, Tamika Tremaglio. .
“With regard to the discipline imposed, which prevents him from entering the field until December and requires certain undeclared conditions to be met before he can return, we believe that it is excessive and inappropriate for a number of reasons, including the facts involved in this particular incident, and that it is not fair and consistent with past discipline in our league.We will explore all options and next steps with Ja.
Silver condemned Morant’s actions in a statement, saying they could leave an impression on young people to act the same way. Morant will have to meet certain conditions before returning to the court.
“Ja Morant’s decision to brandish a gun again on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he has already been suspended eight games,” Silver said in the statement.
“The potential for other young people to emulate Ja’s conduct is of particular concern.
“Under these circumstances, we believe a 25-game suspension is appropriate and sends a clear signal that reckless and irresponsible behavior with firearms will not be tolerated.”
“For Ja, basketball needs to take a back seat right now. Before returning to play, he will need to formulate and execute a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior.
Morant released his own statement, saying, “I have had time to reflect and realize how much harm I have caused. I want to apologize to the NBA, the Grizzlies, my teammates and the city of Memphis.
“To Adam Silver, Zach Kleiman and Robert Pera – who gave me the opportunity to be a professional athlete and supported me – I am sorry for the harm I have done.
In March, Morant appeared to be holding a gun in an Instagram Live video at a Denver club
Morant seemed to take a more personal tone with this last statement as opposed to May’s.
“To the kids who look up to me, I’m sorry I let you down as a role model. I promise I’ll get better. To all my sponsors, I will be a better representation of our brands.
“And to all my fans, I’ll make it up to you, I promise.
“I’m spending the offseason and my suspension continuing to work on my own mental health and decision-making.
“I will also be training to be ready to go when I can be back on the pitch. I know my teammates are going to hold on and I’m so sorry not to be there with you at the start of the season.
“I hope you will give me the chance to prove to you over time that I am a better man than I have shown you.”