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'Idiots,' 'fools,' 'jacka**es': Charles Barkley and Shaq slam pundits for defending NBA player Ja Morant's second suspension for brandishing gun
Photos by Kevin Mazur/Justin Ford/Getty Images

'Idiots,' 'fools,' 'jacka**es': Charles Barkley and Shaq slam pundits for defending NBA player Ja Morant's second suspension for brandishing gun

Hosts from "Inside the NBA" lambasted commentators who came to the defense of Ja Morant, an NBA player who was seen in a video online brandishing a firearm just two months after being suspended for the same behavior.

Morant was recently suspended eight games without pay after being shown with a firearm in a club during an Instagram live video at around 5 a.m. on March 4, 2023.

Then, Morant again appeared in a video with a pistol, which resulted in a suspension from all activities pending a full investigation.

NBA legends Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal had strong words for those defending the 23-year-old's actions and delivered critiques of Morant's behavior on "Inside the NBA" on TNT.

"We got some idiots, some fools, some jackasses on television that really just piss me off," Charles Barkley began. "Talking about Ja should make a stance, he didn't break any laws, he didn't do anything wrong, he's in a state where you can carry a gun,' those guys are just freakin' idiots," he continued.

"It pisses me off when I hear guys say that," Barkley went on. "When you're making a $100 million a year to play sports, life changes. There's certain rules and regulations you have to live by. Plain and simple, you can't do certain stuff, that's the trade off," he added.

Barkley may have been referring to fellow former NBA player JJ Redick, who recently hammered critics who wanted to see Morant get a lengthy suspension.

"No law has been broken, I'm not condoning the behavior," Reddick stated. "There should be consequences, you are the face of the league ... I don't think half [of] a season is the right answer," he explained.

"In our country right now gun culture is pervasive. It's pervasive. We've got mass shooting after mass shooting and nobody's doing a damn thing about it," Redick said as he got increasingly passionate.

Redick then criticized elected officials for what he saw as a hypocrisy in gun culture:

"There's no consequence for Greg Abbott telling his constituents that they should go buy more guns. And then we have mass shooting after mass shooting in Texas. There's no consequence for an elected Tennessee official to send out a Christmas card holding AR-15's with his young family, and then there's a shooting in his own district. There's no consequences for that."

"So why are we trying to lay down the hammer on a 23-year-old who didn't break the law?! Explain that to me," he concluded.

O'Neal and Barkley however explained that they felt there are both unwritten rules and explicitly forbidden actions for NBA stars.

"First of all, you're not a thug. You're not a criminal, you're not a crook. You're a guy making $100 million a year to dribble a stupid basketball. You hit the lottery," Barkley said. "I'm a gun guy, but I don't understand why you're flashing it," he added.

"He made the choice," Shaquille O'Neal said. "He has to understand there's written laws and unwritten laws."

O'Neal stressed that Morant should have realized he has a greater responsibility to youth who have the opportunity to achieve greatness by looking up to him.

"Kids want to be like you ... you have a responsibility," Shaq added.

Barkley closed by listing other activities that NBA players mustn't partake in due to their contracts:

"You can't ski, you can't skydive, you can't ride a motorcycle," Barkley said.

Morant signed a contract worth approximately $200 million over five years in July 2022, with a base salary of $33.5 million for 2023-24.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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