Ja Morant is one of the best point guards in the NBA today. While he is notorious for getting into all sorts of trouble, he has not broken the law yet. In fact, just last year, Morant and another young basketball player, Joshua Holloway, got into a physical altercation during a pickup basketball game.
Holloway filed a lawsuit against Morant that accuses the NBA star of assault and reckless endangerment. However, Morant is not facing any criminal charges because he acted in self-defense.
The right to defend yourself in Tennessee
Tennessee laws allow individuals to stand their ground, meaning they have a right to fight back if they need to defend themselves against danger. Although, a person cannot just assault another individual whenever they want. Physical self-defense is only legal under these circumstances:
- The person who acted in self-defense was not engaging in unlawful activity during the incident.
- The person who acted in self-defense has a legal right to be in the place where the incident occurred.
- The person acted in self-defense because they reasonably believed force was necessary to protect against another’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.
- The belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury should be real or at least the person honestly believed it to be real at the time.
In Tennessee, a person does not have a duty to retreat from imminent danger, but they can only fight back with force proportional to the threat. They cannot use excessive force. Furthermore, a person who initiates an attack cannot claim self-defense.
Ja Morant had a legal right to defend himself
The altercation occurred in Morant’s residence in Tennessee. It began when Holloway threw a ball to Morant, intentionally hitting him in the face. Morant responded and defended himself from what he perceived as a real threat at that time by throwing a punch at Holloway. He had a legal right to be there and to protect himself in his own home.