After a summer of good work off the court that included raising $550,000 to provide rent assistance for families in Ward 8 affected by the pandemic and leading a march against racial injustice, John Wall was in the news for all the wrong reasons this past weekend.
In a 13-second clip posted on Twitter, a maskless, out-of-shape Wall was seen at a party flashing gang signs, the middle finger, and a red bandana.
John Wall in NYC LIVING LIFE pic.twitter.com/210i6Zs9YT
— 2Cool2Blog (@2Cool2BIog) September 13, 2020
The video, which has been seen nearly three million times in the post above (and plenty more in reposts), sparked controversy among NBA media members and fans across the internet. For a player that has missed the last two seasons due to injury and various setbacks, along with growing leadership concerns, it simply wasn’t a good look for the former Kentucky superstar.
“First and foremost I want to apologize to my family, my teammates and all of those that have always supported me,” Wall said in a statement on Twitter. “I made a mistake, something I regret. I will continue to work hard to be better on the court and more importantly off the court.”
After the video’s release, Michael Lee of The Athletic wrote a column highlighting the growing concerns with Wall and the personal decisions he must face moving forward if he wants to be the leader and superstar point guard in the NBA that he claims he wants to be.
“Wall doesn’t need any advice or condemnation. He needs a reminder that he’s worked too hard to toss away what he’s earned,” Lee wrote. “The apology that he released on Twitter after social media put his embarrassing exploits on blast signaled that he is at least aware of the damage he has done to his reputation. Acknowledging the mistake – even if he wasn’t direct about what exactly he regretted (That the video was made public? Boasting his affiliation with the blood gang? Not practicing social distancing procedures during a pandemic?) – was an important and necessary step toward moving forward.
“But from now until he eventually makes his return to an NBA floor, Wall is going to have to decide what’s really important to him.”
Lee added that Wall’s downward trend in terms of total production and health isn’t helping his case, either. In his own words, the NBA waits for no man. The Washington Wizards and the rest of the league will move on to the next player if he doesn’t stay dedicated to returning to full strength and maturity becomes and issue.
“Wall should be laying low, living in the lab and letting greater fools dominate the headlines with head-shaking shenanigans,” he wrote. “The only videos he should be posting are encouraging shots on Instagram of him working out or dunking, not publicizing gang affiliations.
“… Had this incident occurred five, 10 years ago, it could’ve been chalked up as a youthful indiscretion, a lesson from which Wall can learn and grow. But Wall isn’t some kid. He’s a 30-year-old, grown man who is fully aware of his responsibilities to set an example for his own children and others who admire him.”
For the entire column highlighting Wall’s career and what’s next for the former Wildcat, check it out over at The Athletic here.