Gilbert Arenas thought it was an old video. He didn’t think Ja Morant would do the same thing immediately after committing his crime. Everything at stake was not.
“Once I found out it was new, I had nothing else to say,” said former Washington Wizards star Arenas, adding: See how invincible you think you are. ”
Morant, 23, the Memphis Grizzlies guard, has come under fire for the second time in just over two months for a video on social media that appeared to him playfully and recklessly brandishing a gun in public. there is The NBA verified the first video in March and is still investigating the second video, which went viral last weekend. Morant apologized on Tuesday.
Arenas, 41, understands Morant’s turmoil better than anyone. In the 2009-10 season, the NBA suspended him 50 games for carrying a gun into the team’s locker room and mocking the situation with a finger gun gesture during a game while the league was still investigating. was imposed. Arenas, who had previously been named to three All-Star teams, said he had trouble in spaces where he felt comfortable, perhaps too comfortable.
“It’s different for me because it doesn’t interfere with my daily life,” Arenas said. “I’m having trouble at work. The invisible cloud I thought was there has been removed.”
Morant’s troubles are playing out on social media with millions of followers, putting even more at stake for his career and the NBA. His otherworldly athleticism has made him a nightly highlight among many of his fans. his jersey became one of the league’s best sellers. Morant released Nike’s first signature shoe earlier this year and led a new advertising campaign for Powerade. He was poised to be one of the young stars the NBA would count on to move the league forward after LeBron James and Stephen Curry retired. All of that is now at stake.
I have two videos. There are two apologies, each of which Morant vows to improve.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended Morant for eight games after the first video and said in an interview with ESPN on Tuesday that he was “shocked” by watching the second video. It’s unclear if Morant broke any laws, but Silver could face a similar suspension as in March for conduct deemed detrimental to the league. The Grizzlies, who were eliminated in the playoffs last month, suspended Morant indefinitely.
“He did a disservice not only to himself but to the organization,” said Larry Parnell, director of strategic public relations programs at George Washington University. “And I think people take it more personally than politicians or actors who cheat.”
He explained why: “If you’re a celebrity and you’re making a movie and I don’t like what you’re doing, I don’t feel for your movie, but I do for the Celtics. I have an emotional connection with the Grizzlies.”
Arenas has become more aware that she is a public figure and has acted accordingly, such as not wearing flashy jewelry in public to avoid being robbed, so her situation is not as bad as Morant’s. He said it was in contrast to the situation in “I understood that I was not normal,” Arenas said.
Nevertheless, Arenas’ shooting incident overshadowed the rest of his NBA career, which lasted only two more seasons, partly because of his injuries. He was considered immature.
“I think my name has had an impact — I wouldn’t call it legacy,” said Arenas, co-host of Underdog Fantasy’s Gil’s Arena. “It had a really bad impact. I said at the time, the most disappointing thing is that I did 100 things right. I did one thing wrong, and it It’s all in everyone’s memory, that’s what really hurts you the most”
There are other warnings about star players and guns. In 2008, less than a year after catching the Giants’ game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, Praxico Burles accidentally shot himself at a Manhattan nightclub. He spent nearly two years in prison, but his career never recovered. In March, he was asked about Morant in an interview with “.carton show”
“If I was talking to him, it would be, ‘If you can’t learn anything, learn from me,'” Barres said. “He’s still young and I don’t want to be labeled like that in the future, so make better decisions. He has a chance to be the face of the NBA, he’s such a great player and the game You’ll want to keep watching him mature as a person as he gets better.”
Negative publicity is hard to shake off, and reactions to Morant’s actions have been mixed. ESPN analyst and former NBA player JJ Reddick argued that Morant, like many other players, said: should not be severely punished Unless he broke the law. TNT analyst and former NBA player Charles Barkley faced Morant and said the rules were different for public figures. Nike did not respond to a request for comment, but a search for Morant’s name on nike.com no longer shows Morant’s shoes. A Powerade spokeswoman said the company had “no updates” on the deal with Morant.
arena He lost his shoe deal with Adidas Because of his gun incident. He also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of gun possession and was sentenced to 30 days in a concentration camp. More than a decade ago, Arenas became a go-to advocate for athletes when they were in trouble. Still, in November, the Wizards honored him with a framed jersey at halftime during a “Throwback Night” game.
“We all say, ‘Take responsibility for your actions,'” Arenas said. “But can we actually hold the person really responsible? ‘Okay, he never touched the gun again.’ I never showed it. I’ve never seen a gun before. ’ Why keep reminding the world that’s what he did?
“We want them to change their behavior, but we don’t want them to change their behavior.”