Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant returned to the hardwood on Wednesday night, this after a pretty tumultuous few weeks which stemmed from video surfacing of Morant brandishing a firearm in a Denver, Colorado strip club. The former Murray State Racers was suspended for eight games and attended self-mandated counseling prior to his return. And while Morant’s teammates and Grizzlies fans are happy to have their star player back, a certain ESPN NBA analyst doesn’t believe he was punished enough.
On Thursday, Jay Williams who’s the co-host of the ESPN radio show, Keyshawn, Jay Will, and Max, explained why he thinks the league didn’t punish Morant enough.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” he said. “I think we’re all willing to say this is a learning opportunity for Ja, but I will say this. I do believe the NBA missed the mark on his suspension.”
“I thought he should’ve been suspended for the rest of the regular season without pay. And his return should have been subject to successful counseling by the NBA,” Williams said.
Per reports Morant was only in counseling for two days, having entered on March 13th, leaving on the 15th. That seems to be Williams’ biggest gripe with Morant’s return. The former Duke Blue Devils star believes the league took it way to easy on him.
Williams Says Guns And Alcohol Related Stuff Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly
Guns and alcohol are never a good mix, and Morant obviously didn’t make a wise decision in mixing the two. But to do that around others in a public place is even more reason why Williams isn’t buying the whole Ja is okay now and should be playing again so fast.
“I think whenever you involve guns and alcohol, and all this other stuff, I think there’s a high standard that needs to be setting that bar that needs to be set around the league, and setting that kind of example,” Williams said. “Now come back and play in the playoffs, but I thought the punishment was a little to lenient.”
This isn’t the first time Williams has voiced his concerns about Morant’s suspension and quick turnaround to back on the floor.
Rehabilitation A Facade? Williams Thinks So
After Morant’s interview with fellow ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose aired last week, Williams mentioned on his radio show that while he supports Morant, his entire regimen and/or rehab process looks “like a facade.”
He continued ….
“For me to actually believe that a week of counseling, when there has been a series of incidents of behavior that’s been shown, that all of a sudden now everything is addressed — I don’t believe that at all, I don’t,” Williams said.
Morant’s being back so soon is a bit questionable, and a lot of what Williams is saying is definitely true. But he’s a rising young star, and with the playoffs approaching and the Grizzlies currently locked into the No.2 seed. Morant’s presence is vital for the league and its viewers.