Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant after another gun video appears on social media
Ja Morant was suspended by the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday after he appeared to be holding a gun in another social media video that was streamed live on Instagram.
It’s the second time in less than three months that Morant was seen on Instagram holding what appeared to be a weapon. The first led to an eight-game NBA suspension that was handed down in March and cost Morant about $669,000 in salary.
It’s unclear what sanctions Morant may be facing for the second video, which was widely shared online Sunday. An associate of Morant went live on Instagram while the All-Star was in the front seat of a vehicle with another person, briefly appearing to display a handgun. It is unclear where or when the latest video was filmed.
“We are aware of the social media post involving Ja Morant and are in the process of gathering more information,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
The Grizzlies said Morant is suspended from all team activities, “pending league review.”
The gun video earlier this season happened when Morant went live on his own Instagram holding a gun at a club in the Denver suburbs in early March. After that went viral, Morant announced that he was taking time away to seek help, without specifying what sort of treatment he was getting. ESPN later reported that he was getting counseling in Florida, something the team eventually confirmed but did not share any other details.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement in March after meeting with Morant and deciding on the suspension’s length. “It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him.”
Morant sat down for an interview with ESPN during his suspension, taking responsibility for the Colorado video.
“I don’t condone any type of violence,” Morant told ESPN. “But I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a bad mistake and I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes. But in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about and change this narrative.”
This will be at least the third known NBA investigation surrounding Morant and the possible possession of firearms so far in 2023.
Morant’s actions were investigated after a Jan. 29 incident in Memphis that he said led to a friend of his being banned from home games for a year.
That incident followed a game against the Indiana Pacers; citing unnamed sources, The Indianapolis Star and USA Today reported that multiple members of the Pacers saw a red dot pointed at them, and The Athletic reported that a Pacers security guard believed the laser was attached to a gun.
The NBA confirmed that unnamed individuals were banned from the arena but said its investigation found no evidence that anyone was threatened with a weapon.
Then came the Denver-area incident in the early hours of March 4, after the Grizzlies played a road game against the Nuggets. At 5:19 a.m., Morant started a livestream from inside a strip club called Shotgun Willies in Glendale, Colorado. The video quickly went viral, but no charges were filed.
The Glendale Police Department said it looked into the video and found no proof that a crime was committed. Glendale is an enclave surrounded by the city of Denver.
Morant and a close friend also are involved in a civil lawsuit brought after an incident at Morant’s home last summer, in which a 17-year-old alleged that they assaulted him.
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