How media slam dunks athletes’ careers


Malique Card and Canva

Pro-athletes Ja Morant and Mikey Williams have committed crimes in the past two months that led social media to question their behavior. Their wrongdoings have cost them brand deals and other great opportunities. Social media and other influences might contribute to these young stars’ actions. Different approaches such as regulating social influence will solve this issue from an early start.

Malique Card, Reporter

Renowned basketball players Ja Morant and Mikey Williams have found themselves in trouble with the authorities recently. These celebrities have received the greatest opportunities over the years for their athletic careers but all of a sudden, threw their opportunities away. Criminal activity arises among young athletes and the media should  take the blame.

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Morant showed off a gun inside a Colorado nightclub following the team’s loss to the Denver Nuggets March 3. While Morant did not receive any charges, the National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended Morant for eight games. Morant just signed a major endorsement deal with Powerade and would become the face of a rebranding effort for the Coca-Cola product, but after his incident at the nightclub, these companies put this offer on hold. Guns, drugs and illegal activities influence kids in modern generations due to their favorite rappers or their friends.

I take full responsibility for my actions last night. I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis, and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down. I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being,” Morant said.

Saturday, April 15, authorities in San Diego, California, arrested Memphis recruit Williams. San Diego County then charged him with assault using a deadly weapon and shortly afterward his mugshot surfaced online. The following day officials released him through a $50,000 bond but will appear in court and might receive a four-year sentence if convicted. The media influences high school prospects by allowing people to post their wrongdoings. 

Since 2010, the arrest rate for young athletes has increased by 15% and mental health issues increased by 40%. Every day, young fans find themselves receiving influence from social media whether it appears positive or negative. These young and talented athletes have let the influence of social media ruin their careers. Social media has led to increased stress and anxiety while encouraging younger athletes to compare themselves to their famous counterparts because the kids constantly feel pressured. These growing athletes receive further influence from the people around them who also constantly use social media every day.

Needless to say, an athlete must put their mental health first and gain increased control over their social environment. These behaviors result from athletes struggling to balance their lifestyles and career. People must educate young athletes about the dangers associated with the lifestyle influenced by social media and by their peers. Social media fills people’s everyday lives, so people should block out the negativity and follow a path of their own. Young athletes should stay off the media entirely to prevent the mistakes these growing athletes are making. 

“I think athletes should realize what’s on the line before they act on their thoughts. As a young athlete myself, I know nothing is more important to me than basketball and I could never let anything change that. I honestly think the fame and attention got to Ja Morant and Mikey Williams and they just need a reality check. They also should prioritize their mental health because an athlete’s attitude contributes very much to their performance,” sophomore Elson Gichui said.