Ja Morant still has endorsement deals on Monday. While his latest gun video on social media is costing him a lot of money in public relations, he hasn’t lost any money.
Any or all of that could change any day. Once again, Morant is in limbo — awaiting the results of another NBA investigation into what could turn out to be a catastrophic out-of-court decision.
“This is going to be a hot question,” Syracuse professor of sports management Rick Burton said Monday. “I don’t think they can put this on hold. I think there will be too much demand for the question ‘What are you going to do?”‘
The NBA suspended the All-Star guard’s eight games twice in March for live-streaming him wielding an apparent pistol in Colorado. That cost him about $669,000 in salary.
How Morant’s sponsors react to his being caught on social media seemingly wielding a weapon for the second time in less than three months is another matter.
Morant has endorsement deals with Nike and the Powerade sports drink, which is owned by Coca-Cola. Probate agreements traditionally include confidentiality and ethics provisions.
Representatives for Nike, which began selling Morant’s Ja 1 shoes on April 19, did not respond to a message from the Associated Press on Monday. Powerade pulled its ads almost immediately after the March video.
In April, Morant protested a Memphis teen who accused the Grizzlies guard of punching him during a court fight last summer at Morant’s home. The lawsuit notes that the lawsuit has jeopardized relationships with sponsors, including a number of “uncompleted transactions.”
Burton, who was commissioner of the Australian National Basketball League from 2003-07, said research shows some athletes believe negativity can help them become a “perfect pitcher”. Burton wrote in 2001 about the need for villains or athletes with controversial images.
“I’m sure the people at Nike are trying to figure out, ‘Does this make him more suitable for certain audiences? And is this something we’re going to do?”‘ says Burton, who noted that Nike doesn’t often give up on an athlete who tends to be negative.
Memphis suspended Morant on Sunday from team activities, though it’s unclear what that has to do with the season. The Grizzlies were eliminated from the knockout round in the first round. Charity events are the biggest off-season events until training camp in late September. Players begin receiving game checks when the season begins in October.
There is no possibility of criminal charges if there is no indication of where the latest Instagram video was streamed.
Morant has a home in Tennessee, where Republican leaders have repeatedly worked to relax the state’s gun laws, including in 2001 when they allowed most adults 21 and older to carry guns short without prior authorization. Since then, a federal judge has cleared the way to reduce that minimum age to 18.
The problems are much broader for the face of the franchise and one of the NBA’s more sellable players.
Rob Prazmark, founder and CEO of 21 Marketing, said: “Hopefully the young man will figure out what he has to do to turn things around if he wants to continue not only making money, but also success. his career in the NBA”. Customers have included NBA and US Basketball.
Morant is currently facing criticism – even from his own fans. He remains among Twitter’s most trending topics nationwide even 24 hours after his most recent suspension.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 1. Commissioner Adam Silver, who accused Morant of “conduct detrimental to the league” in suspending him in March, has traditionally held held a press conference before the Finals started.
Spotrac.com noted Monday that Morant is expected to be paid $33.5 million for the 2023-24 season if the NBA’s salary cap is $134 million. A suspension of 20 games or less would cost Morant US$231,034 per game while more than 20 games would mean him losing US$304,545 a game.
Morant said as the Grizzlies’ season ended that he needed to work on making his decision.
“I have to get better in that area,” says Morant.
The Grizzlies held pick number 25 in the June draft and are now likely bracing for the possibility that Morant won’t be available when the season begins in October.
The biggest question now is how long that can last.