ESPN’s Jay Williams Craves A Longer Suspension For Ja Morant’s Strip Club Incident | But What About The Career-Ending Motorcycle Accident That Williams Had at 22 Violating His NBA Contract?

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 strip club. The former Murray State Racers guard 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.

ESPN Analyst Jay Williams Doesn’t Think Ja Was Suspended Long Enough

On Thursday, Jay Williams who’s a 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 too easy on the 23-year-old All-Star.

Jay Williams Made Career-Changing Mistake As 22-Years-Old ?

Pretty interesting take coming from Williams who threw away a promising NBA career because of one serious youthful indiscretion. Actually, it was a series of bad decisions that violated stipulations in his contract and led to him now being a 41-year-old NBA analyst who played his last NBA game at the age of 22, after just one season in the league with the Chicago Bulls.

After a storied career at Duke, where he led them to the 2001 NCAA championship, Williams was drafted No. 2 overall by the Bulls in the 2002 NBA draft. As a rookie Williams showed flashes, even putting up a triple-double versus Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets, and earned NBA All-Rookie second-team honors.

In the summer of 2003, Williams violated his contract and rode a motorcycle. That ended up being the worst decision he could have made. Williams got into an accident, wasn’t wearing a helmet and didn’t have a license to operate the bike. It was all bad and the life-changing incident that jump-started his successful career as an analyst/talking head.

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 notion that Ja is OK 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 too 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. 


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