Ja shouldn’t further foster the stereotype

NBA superstar Ja Morant flashed a gun at a nightclub that was captured on an Instagram live video and has been suspended for eight games.

Ja Morant, a promising young star in the National Basketball Association, has often buzzed the sports media world for his jaw-dropping highlights on the court. 

But recently the Memphis Grizzlies point guard has been headlining the news after posting a video on Instagram of him holding a gun at a nightclub. 

Both the Memphis Grizzlies and the NBA are aware of his actions and have decided to suspend him eight games for conduct detrimental to the league. His senseless act has led to a lot of unwarranted attention toward the NBA. 

He did offer an apology the night after the incident and he’s sought mental health counseling, but this act only compounds the absurd activity Morant’s been involved in.

Morant was involved in two incidents this summer that resulted in police reports but no arrests. The first had Morant allegedly threatening a 17-year-old boy with a gun after a dispute during a pick-up basketball game. The other involved Morant confronting a mall security guard in the parking lot with a gun. Both incidents were investigated but no evidence was found to put Morant at fault. 

When you’re young you feel invincible, especially when you have a $200 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, a signature shoe deal with Nike, and you’re a prominent face for Powerade. 

This caused Morant to be on a path he didn’t need to be on. Respect, power and money are three things I believe men crave as they solidify themselves. And rightfully so, but when you start flashing guns or money, it puts a target on you. A lot of people envy what Morant has and it’s important for him to understand people look for quick come ups, so why give them an opportunity to know what you may or may not have? 

And why would Ja Morant want to perpetuate that he’s a gangster or a thug anyway? It’s senseless because he has so much to lose putting himself in these situations. He’s worked so hard to get himself and his family out of this situation. But for some reason, Morant likes to surround himself with these types of people. 

It’s frustrating hearing about a person of Morant’s stature making decisions that impact millions of lives he doesn’t realize he’s affected. Stereotypes about African American men have been created to make quick references of the world around us. 

The most notable is Black men being viewed as individuals who should be feared. I feel as though men in the Black community feel they should embody this representation of being feared because it gives them a sense of belonging when it comes to acceptance within the Black community. But little do people realize, that’s shallow thinking. Why put yourself in harm’s way with a lifestyle that isn’t conducive to success. 

And for what? Some “street cred” that’ll help boost your self-esteem and allow you to become more exposed to unwarranted activity? 

Just thinking about it makes you question people’s emotional state because there’s got to be reasoning behind why they choose to be like that. It’s like, why go through all that trouble to be accepted by people who don’t truly want to see you win in life.  

 People who embody the gangster lifestyle would give anything to be in the same situation as Morant. But for some reason Morant wants people to think he’s hard because he rolls with these types of people and he’s actually putting himself in harm’s way and he doesn’t have to.  

With every problem there’s always a solution so where can we start to help young men like Ja Morant? Obviously, it starts with yourself first but music may be a main culprit in this problem. A lot of artists in the hip hop and rap industry glorify murder, violence, and drugs. I think that a lot of people hear that and they think it’s cool until they’re put into a situation where their back is against the wall and it’s all over. 

People need to understand the consequences for this behavior because it is real and it can vastly impact your life.            

– Wyatt Jackson

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