Ja Morant was a clean-cut kid from an intact family. The Memphis Grizzlies guard’s life has gone off the rails in recent times, he’s entered a counseling program and he may not play again before the NBA’s regular season ends. Patrick Beverley, a Chicago Bulls player who’s been suspended by the NBA for bad behavior, blames violent rap music and bad parenting for Morant’s downfall.
What has Morant done that’s so outrageous? It’s fair to say his young life is quickly spiraling out of control.
Outkick blog reports Morant has made the news for multiple issues involving guns. He flashed a pistol while on a livestream at the Shotgun Willie’s strip club in Colorado. Morant was in a vehicle in which someone flashed a laser possibly attached to a gun toward members of the Indiana Pacers. He had a gun on him during a physical altercation with a teenager and he got into a verbal confrontation at a high school game. He’s also been accused of threatening a security guard at a mall.
A veteran of the NBA and international basketball, Beverly is convinced he knows the source of Morant’s outrageous behavior. Speaking on the Barstool Rundown podcast, he blamed rap music for polluting the minds of young people.:
I think music has a lot to do with this now. You know, especially with this culture. Everyone holding a gun in the video is okay. You know, bling on your teeth is okay. Pants half down your ass, that’s okay. So, that’s like okay now. Back in the day there was a motherf*cker on the beach in a silk shirt talking about some ‘Yeah, baby, let’s party like we’re in the 80s.’
Everybody had on sick shirts and everybody was dressed the same. It’s just a product of what we listen to. The culture now is ‘shoot them up, bang, bang, shoot them up, bend you over, I got this amount of money, I’m on private jets, that that that.’ That’s what the younger generation is. Sadly to say it shouldn’t be based on our music, but it is mostly based on what we listen to and that’s how it is.
There’s another aspect to blame, also, Beverly said. It’s Morant’s father. “Your job as a father isn't to be your son's friend. It's to provide structure, discipline and protection. Instead, Ja's dad thinks he's down for the cause. It's pathetic and he should do better.”
Outkick writer David Hookstead said basketball should be the least of Ja Morant’s current concerns. “Hopefully, Ja Morant gets the help he needs and gets his life straightened out. He has the opportunity to be a generational talent and earn a ton of money. However, he needs to figure out how to stay out of his way first.”
ESPN commentator Marcus Spears does not believe Morant will make an appearance during the Grizzlies’ final 15 games this season. “I think there’s a lot going on, my prayers to him, that he figures it out,” Spears remarked. “There’s things I’m hearing that I’d rather probably not say on this podcast, but I hope he’s taking care of himself.”
Morant issued a statement saying: “I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.” There is no known timetable set for his return to NBA action.
Professional sports – especially the NBA and the NFL – should be on notice as well. They need to reflect on the negative culture they’re projecting. These leagues are fully caught up in the degrading, vulgar rap climate Beverly says is at the root of Morant’s downfall. And who knows how many others.