Stupid Is As Stupid Does

A video appeared online over the weekend that showed Memphis Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant riding in a car driven by a friend with Morant flashing a handgun.  Recall that he did something similar at a strip club on a team trip to Denver earlier this year.  He was suspended by the team and the league; he went to “therapy”; he returned and spoke with the higher-ups in the NBA who pronounced him cured and aware of the potential consequences of his carrying handguns around and “flashing them.”  That “therapy” lasted 10 days; I suspect that even the therapist would agree that there is just a little more work to be done there.

After the Grizzlies were eliminated in the playoffs by the Lakers, Morant told the press after the final game that he realized that he was partially responsible for the loss.  He said then that he:

“… just [needs to show] more discipline.”

That was just a couple weeks ago and now he is once again showing discipline and restraint by flashing a handgun.  The NBA is in a dicey position on this one.  It is perfectly legal for Morant to own a handgun and presumably he has been smart enough to obtain all the permits necessary for him to carry that gun with him in public.  Nevertheless, if Morant and his gun are involved in a shooting incident somewhere down the road, there will be blowback that lands on the NBA as an “enabler” in the matter.

Ten days of counseling and “therapy” are not going to have much of an effect here; Morant is 23 years old and seems to have the maturity, discipline and social awareness of a 14-year-old.  There is no magic elixir that confers maturity on someone partaking of it, but someone or some organization needs to connect with Ja Morant and work with him over an extended period of time.  At some point, he will either need to grow up or he will have earned the moniker:

  • Ja Moron.

Moving on …  Late last week, another wave of euphoria rolled over the fanbase in the DC area when it was announced that Josh Harris and Daniel Snyder then had a signed agreement for Harris to purchase the team and that his offer for the team was exclusive.  No more bids were going to be introduced into the sales process.  There were no reports of “dancing in the streets” [Hat Tip to Martha and the Vandellas] but there were many fans intoning “Ding, dong the witch is dead” [Hat Tip to The Wizard of Oz].  Things are indeed looking up for Commanders’ fans in the DC area – – and also for the other owners of NBA teams.  What happened last week was one more step toward a moment in time where the fans and the league are disassociated with the stench that that has been attached to this franchise for more than a decade.

Having said that, the deal is not done yet; no one should subject themselves to a case of premature exultation.

The NFL owners will meet in a regularly scheduled convocation next week in Minnesota.  The hope was that the NFL Finance Committee – – made up of 8 owners – – would recommend to the owners in plenary session that the sale be approved such that a vote of the 32 owners could ratify the deal.  According to the Washington Post this morning, that is not likely to happen.

According to the Post, the Finance Committee has been reviewing the deal since even before the deal was jointly signed and the deal was declared to be exclusive.  That is evidently an unusual happenstance.  The Post report references a person who is “familiar with the inner workings of the NFL” who says that there are two major forces at work here:

  1. The owners as a group would be happy to disassociate themselves from Daniel Snyder with “as little rancor as possible.”
  2. The complexity of the financing presented by Josh Harris and his “large number of limited partners” is going to make it difficult for the Finance Committee to sprinkle holy water on the deal and send to the owners for a vote.

Obviously, I know nothing about the fine structure of the bid that Josh Harris has put forth here.  Even if I were to be presented with the full scope of that bid, I would probably not be competent to pass judgement on its viability vis á vis NFL standards for such a transaction.  However, I suspect that the impetus provided by “Major Force #1” above will keep up momentum for an approval recommendation to come out of the Finance Committee eventually.  There may need to be some details modified in the substructure of the deal involving all those limited partners and some details related to any future liabilities on the league arising from activities during Snyder’s ownership of the franchise.

Those issues could make it impossible for the owners to see a fully vetted and sanctioned offer put before them next week in Minnesota.  But I suspect that there will be such a recommendation put before the owners eventually – – and that is now in question.  If the Post report is correct and there is no vote or decision by next week, the timing of the next step is unclear.  The next regularly scheduled owners’ meeting is in October 2023; that would be in the middle of the NFL regular season, and it would be messy even by the standards of this sale process to date.

There is precedent for the owners to set an ad hoc owners’ meeting specifically to address a franchise purchase.  That happened just last year when the owners met in August to give the final approval for the sale of the Denver Broncos to Rob Walton.  Perhaps, that is the light at the end of the tunnel for Commanders’ fans.

  • Then again, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be a gorilla with a flashlight…

Finally, the sale of the Commanders’ franchise is something that must be appreciated in the long run.  So, let me close today with this observation about “the long run” by the economist John Maynard Keynes:

“Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs.  In the long run, we are all dead.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………