Nike Pledges to Stand Behind Ja Morant Following Suspension – Sourcing Journal

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Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended for 25 games without pay, the NBA announced today, for conduct detrimental to the league. The decision stems from two separate instances of the athlete flashing a gun on social media.

Shortly after the suspension was revealed, Morant issued a statement that has circulated on social media. “I’ve had time to reflect and I realize how much hurt I’ve caused. I want to apologize to the NBA, the Grizzlies, my teammates and the city of Memphis,” his statement read.

Morant’s statement continued, “I’m spending the offseason and my suspension continuing to work on my own mental health and decision making.”

Nike, the brand that backs Morant, has also issued a statement. “We are pleased that Ja is taking accountability and prioritizing his well-being. We will continue to support him on and off the court,” the brand said in a statement.

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Morant is a rising star in the league, and is one of Nike’s few signature athletes. The baller’s debut signature shoe, dubbed the Nike Ja 1, was revealed in December 2022. Morant signed with Nike in 2019.

In today’s statement from the NBA, the league outlined the two incidents that led to the suspension. The first took place on March 4 when Morant live-streamed a video from a Denver area nightclub while intoxicated where he displayed a gun. For this, the NBA suspended him eight games without pay. Two months later on May 13, the NBA stated Morant “intentionally and prominently” displayed a gun while in a car with others in Memphis on a live-streamed video. He issued a statement taking accountability for his actions on May 16.

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Specifically for the second incident, the league said in today’s statement that Morant “wielded the firearm while knowing that he was being recorded and that the recording was being live streamed on Instagram Live, despite having made commitments to the NBA and public statements that he would not repeat the conduct for which he was previously disciplined.”

The suspension, the NBA explained, begins immediately and will remain in effect through the first 25 games of the 2023-24 regular season. Also, the NBA said Morant will be required to meet “certain conditions before he returns to play” and that he will be “ineligible to participate in any public league or team activities, including preseason games, during the course of his suspension.”

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“Ja Morant’s decision to once again wield a firearm on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he was already suspended eight games,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “The potential for other young people to emulate Ja’s conduct is particularly concerning. Under these circumstances, we believe a suspension of 25 games is appropriate and makes clear that engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior with guns will not be tolerated.”

He continued, “For Ja, basketball needs to take a back seat at this time. Prior to his return to play, he will be required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior.”

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