Following the recent gun brandishing incident, Ja Morant has been suspended by the NBA. The Memphis Grizzlies‘s statement said that the basketball player will not be playing any of the games up until March 15 while the team works on the appropriate sanctions for his actions on social media.
In the midst of his suspension, Coca-Cola has pulled its Powerade add that spotlighted Morant. The campaign was said to be the company’s largest in the brand’s history. The Drum reports that the brand, which released a 60-second ad starring Morant earlier this month, has made the video ad private on all it’s social media platforms. The ad has now also disappeared from YouTube.
Morant’s controversy comes at an inopportune time for Coca-Cola as it recently acquired BodyArmor and Powerade to take on electrolyte beverage giant, Gatorade. Morant’s ad was meant to relaunch Powerade and became the first athlete partnership for the brand in over five years. The campaign was titled, “From Underestimated to Undeniable” and garnered a large number of funds and resources to relaunch Powerade into the sports world. Up until now, Morant has only seen repercussions from his actions throughout the league. However, Powerade’s sudden move to pull the ads, it begs the question if other brands will follow suit. Nike, which entered into a deal with the basketball player, has only recently begun releasing his signature shoe. In a statement, Nike made it clear that they are not re-evaluating their relationship with Morant but rather, “We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support the prioritization of his well-being.”
After the incident, Morant also released his own statement which read, “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.”
In case you missed it, New Balance and AS Roma have released the legacy collection.
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