Ja Morant Writes Letter Urging Kentucky Judge to Remove Confederate Statue

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) plays in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant sent a letter to Judge Kenneth C. Imes in Murray, Kentucky, on Thursday asking that a Confederate statue located in downtown Murray be removed.

Edward Alan Marlowe of the Paducah Sun tweeted the full letter sent by Morant:

Edward Alan Marlowe @dreamarlowe85

Former Murray State point guard and current Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has weighed in on the Confederate statue in the downtown courtsquare of Murray, Ky. https://t.co/77oaSfmcmq

Morant spent two seasons playing collegiately for the Murray State Racers from 2017 to ’19 before getting selected second overall by the Grizzlies in the 2019 NBA draft.

Morant wrote that he is “extremely proud” of his ties to Murray State and that it “felt like a second home” as soon as he arrived. At the same time, Morant expressed concern regarding the continued presence of the statue:

“As a young Black man, I cannot express enough how disturbing and oppressive it is to know the city still honors a Confederate war general defending white supremacy and hatred. Given recent events and the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s necessary to act now. We can’t change the culture of racism unless we change the celebration of racism. Please help us take a stand and remove this symbol of hatred and oppression.”

The statue, which stands on the grounds of the Calloway County courthouse, depicts Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Per Dalton York of WKMS, Morant’s plea to remove the statue came after Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called for it to be removed earlier this week.

Following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, there have been nationwide protests against racial inequality, police brutality and social injustice that have included renewed efforts to remove Confederate symbols.

Most notably, NASCAR announced this week that Confederate flags will be banned at all racetracks moving forward. The decision was made after Bubba Wallace, who is the only black driver in any of NASCAR’s three national series, expressed his belief that it should happen.

If the statue at the Calloway County courthouse is removed, it will come on the heels of a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis being removed from the Kentucky state Capitol on Saturday as well.

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