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A Surreal, Chum-Choked Plunge Through Ja Morant’s Countersuit Against A Teen Boy

Ja Morant yells after scoring.
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Ja Morant is suing a teenager. Not just any teenager: The very teenager he punched in the face at the climax of a pickup basketball game held in Morant's driveway back in July. Morant and the teen agree on that basic set of facts—that a pickup basketball game held at Morant's house ended when Morant punched a teenager in the face—but disagree on who, precisely, is to blame for this escalation. The teenager sued Morant, and now Morant has countersued, accusing the teen of embellishing his retelling of the encounter and lying about his own role in it, and arguing that those lies and embellishments have damaged Morant's reputation and potentially his future earnings.

Attached to Morant's counter-complaint, filed in Shelby County, Tenn., on April 12, are 94 pages of exhibits. These exhibits are intended to show the viral spread of what the countersuit describes as "Counter-Defendant's lies," which Morant says include the false assertions that he brandished a gun and that someone in his friend group kicked the teen after he fell to the ground (just to reiterate, this was after the teenager was punched in the face by a professional athlete during a pickup basketball game). When the extremely friendly records supervisor of the Shelby County Circuit Court attempted to electronically transmit these exhibits to Defector Friday, we were both dismayed to discover that the file size was too large for my puny email inbox. Wow, I thought. These exhibits must be bursting with juicy shit!

About that. It turns out whoever complied these exhibits was not especially careful about curating the content, or clipping the exhibits for coherent perusal, or indeed about bothering to label or otherwise differentiate any of them after the 25th page. The large document becomes a surreal and deeply unpleasant scroll through uncanny and possibly AI-written aggregations, broken up and obliterated by pages upon pages of chumbox programmatic ads and oddly blank and weirdly threatening expanses of failed-to-load images and thumbnails, all screengrabbed and added to an actual damn lawsuit, for God knows what reason. You will learn next to nothing about actual harm to Morant's reputation, and more than you ever wanted to know about people who are hated by doctors due to one simple weight-loss trick.

The third exhibit—I am no lawyer but I would assume the exhibits right up there at the top are usually, uhh, reasonably credible—is an extended screenshot of an aggregation blog from something called Sportsmanor. The screenshot includes two full pages of thumbnail links to other Sportsmanor blogs, plus a sad image of the empty comments section under Sportsmanor's Morant blog:

No comments on the Morant blog.
Will no one comment on this Sportsmanor aggregation of the Ja Morant story?Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint

EXHIBIT 4 is a screenshot of a 224-word aggregation from something called The Spun. EXHIBIT 6 is from Hoops Wire; page two of this exhibit is this miserable spread of chumbox ads:

Sleazy chumbox ads included in EXHIBIT 6 of Morant's countersuit.
Don't flaunt your access to doctor-approved slimming tips, Ja!Screenshot of Morant's counter-complaint.

It is after this Outbrain programmatic mess that the exhibits become undifferentiated and increasingly bizarre. Here is page 30, a screenshot from something called Flipboard:

Horace Grant describes what it was like to learn the Triangle offense: "If you studied Mandarin for the first time, that's how difficult it was."
Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint.

Pages 33 and 34 contain screenshots of the headlines of two stories about Aaron Rodgers, and precisely zero mention of Morant's teen-punching episode:

Page 33 shows Aaron Rodgers in a Packers uniform and a paraphrased quote: "If you think I'm being a diva about my career decision, tune me out."
Page 33 of the exhibits attached to Ja Morant's counter-complaint.Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint.

Page 36 of the exhibits begins a welcome return to the subject of Ja Morant, with a light aggregation from Indian sports website Sportskeeda. It also includes this useful information, which begins a sequence of four straight pages of unrelated chumbox programmatic ads stuffed at the bottom of Sportskeeda's blog:

Sleazy programmatic ads for miracle weight-loss solutions.
Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint.

The exhibits continue to get stranger. Here is the entirety of page 52:

A page of failed images and ads with no reference to Morant's lawsuit.
What is this?Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint.

And below is the entirety of page 71, which follows a USA Today News aggregation containing as much false information about the teenager—it incorrectly states that the teen admitted to "accidentally" punching Morant, when both parties agree that only Morant threw any punches at all—as it does statements disputed by Morant:

Another nearly blank page of failed images and links.
Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint.

Page 74 begins a long screenshot of a large-format aggregation from something called JordanThrilla, a website with a Twitter following of 332 users. Here is a page of that:

Some weird thumbnails of JordanThrilla stories jammed over on the side of an otherwise blank page.
Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint.

The exhibits end much the way they began, with uhh the exact same Sportsmanor story from EXHIBIT 3, again:

A screenshot of a story from a website called Sportsmanor, included for the second time.
Screenshot from Morant's counter-complaint.

There's 94 pages of this madness. Maybe it is normal practice, when compiling exhibits that are comprised entirely of blogs from desperate ad-supported websites, to include the websites' thumbnail recommendations and Taboola-esque poisonous ad spreads. I sincerely hope that is not the case, although learning that judges and attorneys have to sift through printouts of the internet's sleaziest clickbait would satisfactorily explain the protracted timelines of court proceedings. I think if I were the judge in this case I would want to lift Morant's attorney by the ankles and hammer-throw them into a volcano. Anyway, if you've got the details on any of these hot weight-loss tips, please send them to my email straightaway.

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