The past few weeks have been filled with lessons about the consequences for NBA star Ja Morant. After being suspended by the Memphis Grizzlies for an unknown number of games, the 23-year-old basketball player’s recent Powerade ad was just pulled by Coca-Cola.
Ja Morant Is Facing More Consequences Over Gun Incident
After showing a gun while partying in a strip club in Denver during an Instagram Live on March 4, Morant was suspended for at least a few games, which has now stretched out until at least March 15. Amid his suspension, Coca-Cola has pulled Morant’s Powerade ad, which was just announced days before the nightclub incident.
Powerade sports drink is relaunching its brand and making Ja Morant its first athlete partnership in more than five years 🔥, per @DamichaelC
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 1, 2023
Morant was the first athlete partnership for the brand in more than five years, and his ad was meant to relaunch Powerade. The company removed a recent commercial featuring Morant and has also removed him from its website. It’s unknown at this time if Coca-Cola is planning to completely sever their ties with the athlete or if they are waiting to see how this situation plays out with the NBA.
While Powerade is taking action by pulling Morant’s ad, Nike, who also has a deal with the NBA star with a signature shoe, issued a statement about their stance. “We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support the prioritization of his well-being,” the statement reads.
The criminal investigation of the gun incident has been closed because there is a lack of evidence to charge Morant with any crimes. As for when Morant is expected to return to the court, there is still no definitive date given.
The Grizzlies need Morant to reach their goals before returning to the court, but the team has also made it clear that his personal well-being is the most important thing. Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said that Morant has been given “steps that have to be met” professionally as well as personally.
“Obviously the expectations on the team, he’s going to have some things that he’s going to have to clear to know what the expectations are when he does returns,” Jenkins said.
Photos From The Strip Club Tell More Of That Night’s Story
The story of what happened when Morant wasn’t on Instagram Live that night in the strip club is told in photos obtained by the New York Post, as well as statements by insiders and the club owner.
A club insider told the outlet, “The whole room is full of money — it’s literally a pile. You’d need a rake.” Employees at Shotgun Willie’s also told The Post that Morant dropped about $50,000 in cash tips while there. “That took forever to count” a dancer recalled a colleague saying.
The owner of Shotgun Willie’s says Ja Morant spent over $50K on tips a few weeks ago
“This kid, real young, was exceptionally respectful, and sweet and he did not drink…He’s marvelous.”
(Via @nypost ) pic.twitter.com/aZxlNiohuk
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 12, 2023
The club insider told The Post about the evening saying Morant arrived at the club around 1:30 a.m. with a friend and two security guards. He entered through the back of the club into the VIP room. “He was there to party, he wanted some girls in the room. The music was very, very gangster,” the insider revealed.
Morant visited the club on March 2 and then again on March 4, which was when he went on Instagram Live waving a gun. “This kid, real young, was exceptionally respectful, and sweet and he did not drink [on his second visit],” Deborah Dunafon, majority owner of Shotgun Willie’s said.
“We’ve had [Denver] Nuggets and Broncos…come in and pitch quarters at the girls, be disrespectful and nasty. He’s marvelous.” Dunafon also said that security footage pulled from Morant’s second night in the club didn’t show a gun.
Some People Aren’t Happy With How Ja Morant’s Situation Went Down
Some people weren’t happy that the owner gave out private information and photos from Morant’s time in the VIP room. Comments on the club’s Instagram and Facebook pages claim the strip club isn’t the ideal place for people to go if they want to keep their privacy.
“I used to love this place before Debbie started releasing photos of her clients and doing interviews,” wrote one person on a Facebook post. Another added, “I bet y’all wouldn’t have leaked y’all white rich customers videos. It’s wild a person can spend 50k in your establishment and you do that. I hope that’s the beginning of y’all downfall. I hope he has a case to sue y’all.”
One other person also commented on the post saying, “TO WHOEVER COMES ACROSS THIS POST…Keep your privacy & spend your money elsewhere. What this place did to Ja Morant is foul AF. Clout chasing is a disease. #CancelSWSC.”
On Instagram, comments were similar. “Everyone boycott this club all athletes and celebrities boycott this club. Everyone gives this club a 1-star review. They sold a video for money which was supposed to be a private room,” one person wrote.
Another added, “Y’all leaking that private pic of ja is crazy. He dropped a bag with y’all and y’all still do that?”