Nobody’s Talking About The Morris Brothers Trial

    As NBA fans consume their thoughts with what Kyrie Irving had to say about Lebron and whether or not Kevin Durant uses dummy Twitter accounts to defend himself against public criticism,  moving under the radar is the aggravated assault trial of NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris that is currently in progress.  It’s a serious case that could have negative effects not only on the upcoming NBA season, but their lives as free, celebrity ballers.  

    Court On Camera on Twitter

    All yesterday and todays’ coverage from #NBA #Morris brothers TRIAL just in case you didn’t catch it https://t.co/2PlcnGCYfI

    The brothers were each indicted in April of 2015 on two felony counts of aggravated assault, months after a man named Erik Hood, who said he was a longtime family acquaintance, told police that the Morris twins helped three other people put the beats on him at the Nina Mason Pulliam Recreation & Sports Complex in Phoenix in January of 2015. 

    Opening statements were delivered Monday for what is expected to be a 10-day trial. Hood testified on Tuesday that his relationship with the brothers became strained because of a misinterpreted text message in 2011 and their assumption that he was trying to have an improper  relationship with their mother. Defense attorney Timothy Eckstein repeatedly asked Hood to answer only yes or no to his questions.

    Sportsnet on Twitter

    The trial of Marcus & Markieff Morris has resumed with testimony from the man the brothers are accused of beating. https://t.co/uufzQKiLuI

    According to police reports, the alleged victim and a woman had been watching a basketball game and the Morrises also attended the tournament.  

    Hood, 36, told investigators he and the woman were leaving the facility when they were accosted by a 25-year-old man at the game with the Morris twins, the report said.

    During the confrontation, someone punched Hood in the back of the head, and Hood tried to flee, the report said.

    According to azcentral.com, one strong piece of evidence in the case includes a recording released by Phoenix police that included a phone conversation between Hood and the Morrises’ mother several days after the assault. Hood gave her a long rundown of the incident, starting with being approached by one suspect as he left the gym.

    “He said, ‘(expletive), you know what time it is?’ ” Hood told Angel Morris. “I look at him. I said, ‘What you talking about?’ Some (expletive) just socked me from the back. Boom. I take off running. They catch up to me. They’re kicking me, punching me, kicking me, punching me. Then when they’re holding me on the ground, I hear (one suspect) say, ‘Mook (Marcus’ nickname), he trying to get up. Mook, he trying to get up.’ I know why Marcus decided to come over there but he came over there and started kicking me, Angel. He came over there and started kicking. I didn’t see Keef (Markieff nickname) do anything. I didn’t see Keef. But Mook came over there and was kicking me.”

    The website also reports that witnesses told police they saw the five subjects flee in a Rolls-Royce Phantom, but none of them were able to identify any of the subjects. Investigators say they interviewed about two dozen additional witnesses who said they did not see anything or could not identify those involved.”

    Markieff Morris denied being part of the group of attackers but admitted being at the game. He reportedly told police he and his brother were there because they sponsor one of the teams.

    Hood, a former pro hoopster in Europe, told police he had been a mentor to the twins and supported them financially for a time when they were high school students in Philly. Hood, who now works as a club-level talent scout, also showed police photographs of himself with the Morris twins, the report said.

    Two of the other co-defendants pleaded guilty Sept. 13 to the same charges. The Morris brothers and the final defendant, Gerald Bowman, have pleaded not guilty.

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    Theres a lot of background to this story that makes it believable that the Morris Twins were involved in the assault. The Morris brothers have known Hood since they were promising teenage AAU players and boys are very protective of their mother. Its possible they felt that Hood was trying to court their mom in order to entrench himself more deeply in their future NBA careers. 

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    Hood initially identified both Marcus and Markieff Morris as assailants, but testified that he later changed his statement to police to say Markieff did not physically assault him but had been in the vicinity.

    The Morris brothers face the possibility of prison time and discipline from the NBA, including a minimum 10-game suspension, if they are found guilty. Marcus was traded to the Boston Celtics in July, and Markieff is now with the Washington Wizards.

    The two-week trial also threatens to carry into the start of their 2017 NBA season, with training camp set to begin for both players on Sept. 26.

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.