Blog Image
June 23, 2023

Guns and Grizzlies (2 minute read)

By Sophia Rooke

It came as no great shock to hear the news of Adam Silver slapping Ja Morant with a 25-game ban for the start of the 2023/24 NBA season. The wannabe tough guy has been on what seems like a PR manager’s worst nightmare of a rampage this past season. But my own personal issue doesn’t sit with Ja himself; I have no say, no influence and no real interest, for that matter, in what a millionaire athlete waves around in his free time. My issue lies within the social media uproar, lack of common sense and, quite frankly, extreme ignorance of the severity of the situation.

Combing through the comments in the wake of Silver’s second suspension announcement, it was interesting to see the almost 50/50 split in opinion surrounding the 23-year-old Grizzly. However, my impartiality had gone out of the window a long time ago and only moved further away with the more “it wasn’t illegal” comments I read. Clearly, the point and magnitude of the situation were missed entirely. But one comment stuck with me, a grandfather telling how he took his six-year-old grandson’s beloved Ja jersey away and sat him down to share his reasoning and explain to the rest of the comments section that he will give back the jersey once Ja becomes a role model again. I immediately commended this decision and was more than shocked to see the stream of negative replies, “he’s just six years old,” “It’s not that deep,” and “That’s unnecessary.”

Now, let that resonate for a second.

This issue here isn’t Ja Morant carrying a gun anymore; it’s the swarm of teenagers and young adults trying to be ride-or-dies for a kid that will probably never even know they exist. As brutal as that seems, it’s the truth. Even more concerning is the frame of mind these youths are in, preaching that Ja did not hurt anyone and thus should be absolved from any wrongdoing. By that assertion, each one of these kids will see no issue carrying a gun themselves, glorifying the idea of being unnecessarily armed.

When you have your Mum calling you to threaten mall staff, your Dad carrying his volatile main character energy court-side and your best friends flexing the fact that their privileged homeboy is trying to form a big man in all the wrong ways, the foundations are already fractured. Many veterans in both the NBA and music scene have attempted to reach Ja to no avail, which seems blatantly disrespectful and hardheaded. As I stated at the start of this post, I have no personal issue with Ja. I do not condone anything he has done, but I think our main concern now ought to be pushing more positive role models to the forefront because it is evident we are in a gun violence epidemic with the next generation being led astray. Sports is supposed to be a safe, nurturing and promising environment; gun violence and tolerance of such has absolutely no place here.