ESPN NBA analyst JJ Redick bashed right-wing politicians in a fiery rant defending embattled NBA superstar Ja Morant on Wednesday.
Morant found himself in hot water after a viral Instagram video showed the superstar waving a gun in a car while singing along to rap music. The video resulted in Morant being handed a suspension from his team, the Memphis Grizzlies. (RELATED: Ja Morant Speaks Out For First Time After Being Rocked With Second Gun Scandal)
Redick asserted on ESPN’s “First Take” Morant did not commit a crime and the media has been too harsh on the 23-year-old basketball player.
“No law has been broken,” Redick said. “I’m not condoning the behavior. I’m not saying there should be no punishment.”
The basketball analyst said Morant should face consequences due to his status as a prominent athlete and a role model to children. However, Redick pushed back on suggestions Morant be suspended for a large chunk of the next NBA season.
“I don’t think half a season is the right answer.” Redick said.
JJ Redick got heated on First Take this morning
“WHY ARE WE TRYING TO LAY DOWN THE HAMMER ON A 23-YEAR-OLD WHO DIDN’T BREAK A LAW? EXPLAIN THAT TO ME !”
(h/t @awfulannouncing )
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 17, 2023
Redick claimed gun culture has run amok in the United States, and brought up several high-profile Republican politicians who support gun rights. The former NBA star asked why these politicians are not punished for promoting gun rights.
“Gun culture is pervasive. It’s pervasive. We’ve got mass shooting after mass shooting, and no one is doing a damn thing about it. So, I get why we’re so sensitive to this right now,” Reddick said. “But there’s no consequence for 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-15s with his young family, and 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!” Redick added.
Morant was suspended for 8 games in March for allegedly brandishing a firearm at a nightclub.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was “shocked” over Morant’s actions, in an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews. Silver said he had a conversation with Morant, and in which he explained how severe his actions were.
Silver said he was left with the sense Morant was taking the issue “incredibly seriously.” Silver said the league is still figuring out what to do with Morant, but he’s “assuming the worst.”