JJ Redick vociferously argued against throwing the book at Ja Morant.
Morant has been suspended from Grizzlies team activities after he again flashed a gun in an Instagram Live video on Saturday, and Redick’s ESPN colleague Adrian Wojnarowski has reported a “lengthy suspension” could be in the offing.
Speaking on “First Take” on Wednesday, Redick said he understood that this moment was compounded with Morant having been accused of having a violent incident with a teen in a pickup basketball game, threatening a mall security guard and the time members of his circle were accused of pointing a red laser at the Pacers traveling party — but that Morant has not been charged with a crime in any of those situations.
“I’m not condoning the behavior. I’m not saying there should be no punishment. There should be consequences. You are the face of the league. You are representing the NBA. You are a role model to young kids. All of that. I don’t think [getting suspended for] half the season is the right answer,” Redick said, responding to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s position that Morant should be suspended for 40 games next season.
Redick pivoted to talking about Republican government officials who flaunt and/or promote firearms in their political messaging.
“In our country right now, gun culture is pervasive. We’ve got mass shooting after mass shooting and nobody’s doing a damn thing about it, so I get why everyone is sensitive right now,” Redick said.
“But there’s no consequence for this for [Texas Gov.] Greg Abbott telling his constituents that they should go buy more guns, and then we have mass shooting after mass shooting in Texas. There’s no consequence for an elected Tennessee official to send out a Christmas card holding AR-15’s with his young family, and then there’s a shooting in his very district.
“There’s no consequences to that, so why are we trying to lay down the hammer on a 23-year-old who didn’t break a law!? Explain that to me!”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the matter in an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews during the Draft Lottery on Tuesday night.
“Honestly, I was shocked when I saw, this weekend, that video,” Silver said. “We’re in the process of investigating it and we’ll figure out exactly what happened as best as we can. The video’s a bit grainy and all that, but I’m assuming the worst. We’ll figure out exactly what happened there.”
Morant vowed to “take accountability” for his actions in a Tuesday statement to ESPN.
“I know I’ve disappointed a lot of people who have supported me,” he said in a statement. “This is a journey and I recognize there is more work to do. My words may not mean much right now, but I take full accountability for my actions. I’m committed to continuing to work on myself.”
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