Ja Morant Suspended by Memphis Grizzlies After Second Gun Incident in Two Months

The Memphis Grizzlies have suspended star player Ja Morant “from all team activities” after he was seen brandishing a gun for the second time in two months in an Instagram live video posted on Saturday.[0] The team has announced that the suspension is pending an NBA review, with the league stating that they are “in the process of gathering more information” about the incident.

Morant had previously served an eight-game suspension in March for “conduct detrimental to the league” after the NBA investigated a prior Instagram live clip of the player flashing a gun at a Denver-area nightclub following Memphis' loss to the Nuggets on March 3.[1] At the time, the league stated that they “did not conclude that the gun at issue belonged to Morant, was brought by him into the nightclub, or was displayed by him beyond a brief period.”[2]

However, in the latest incident, Morant is seen briefly holding up an object that looks like a gun in the passenger's seat of a car being driven by another man.[3] It is not yet clear what steps the NBA or the Grizzlies can take to discipline Morant beyond this initial suspension.

In March, one of the primary questions was whether or not Morant had brought a firearm onto team premises or the team plane, which would have triggered an automatic 50-game suspension.[4] Additionally, Morant was investigated by Colorado police for the March incident, but they later stated that “there was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime.”[4]

During his hiatus from the Grizzlies in March, Morant attended a counseling program in Florida and met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.[5] When Silver eventually announced an eight-game suspension for the Memphis guard, he referred to Morant's behavior as “irresponsible, reckless, and potentially very dangerous,” but also noted that Ja had “expressed sincere contrition and remorse” and had learned from the incident.[5]

However, following the latest incident, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has suggested that Morant is facing a “real possibility of a lengthy suspension to start next season.”[6] In an interview last month, Morant acknowledged that he needed to be “better with [his] decision-making,” and that “off-the-court issues affected us as an organization pretty much. I only require more discipline.[3]

Morant has also faced other off-court issues, including an incident in January where the Indiana Pacers claimed that a red laser was pointed at the team from an SUV that was carrying Morant, which they believed was a gun.[7] After conducting an investigation, the NBA concluded that no person had threatened others with a weapon.[8] Additionally, a police report described an incident just four days later in which a teenage boy alleged Morant punched him in the head multiple times during a pickup basketball game and then went into a house only to emerge with a gun.[9]

Despite these incidents, Morant has expressed remorse and a desire to change his behavior. “It's not who I am,” he said in March.[10] “I don't condone it or any type of violence, but I take full responsibility from my actions.[11] I have committed a regrettable error.[11] The image of my recent mistakes that I painted over myself is visible to me.[11] But in the future, I'm going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I'm about and change this narrative that everybody got.”[7]

As of now, it remains to be seen what further action the NBA and the Grizzlies will take in response to the latest incident involving Morant.

0. “Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant over social media video involving apparent gun” CBS News, 14 May. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/grizzlies-suspend-ja-morant-over-social-media-video-involving-apparent-gun/

1. “Memphis Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant after a video in which he appears to flash a gun” NPR, 14 May. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/05/14/1176078019/memphis-grizzlies-suspend-ja-morant-after-a-video-in-which-he-appears-to-flash-a

2. “Ja Morant suspended by Grizzlies after IG Live video appears to show him holding gun” The Athletic, 14 May. 2023, https://theathletic.com/4518135/2023/05/14/ja-morant-gun-grizzlies-suspension-nba

3. “Ja Morant appears to flash a gun AGAIN on Instagram” Daily Mail, 14 May. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/nba/article-12082263/Ja-Morant-appears-flash-gun-Instagram-months-Denver-strip-club-incident.html

4. “Ja Morant suspended from all Grizzlies activities after Instagram Live video shows him with gun in car” CBS Sports, 14 May. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/ja-morant-suspended-from-all-grizzlies-activities-after-instagram-live-video-shows-him-with-gun-in-car

5. “Grizzlies Suspend Ja Morant As NBA Investigates Social Media Video” hoopsrumors.com, 14 May. 2023, https://www.hoopsrumors.com/2023/05/grizzlies-suspend-ja-morant-as-nba-investigates-social-media-video.html

6. “Ja Morant could face ‘lengthy suspension' next season after new gun video” New York Post , 14 May. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/05/14/ja-morant-could-face-lengthy-suspension-after-new-gun-video/

7. “Memphis Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant after another gun video appears on social media” CNBC, 14 May. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/14/grizzlies-suspend-ja-morant-after-another-gun-video-appears-on-social-media.html

8. “Ja Morant should be suspended for ‘all of next season,' ex-Grizzlies player says” Fox News, 15 May. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/sports/ja-morant-should-suspended-all-next-season-ex-grizzlies-player-says

9. “Ja Morant Appears to Flash Alleged Gun During IG Live Video 2 Months After Suspension” Bleacher Report, 14 May. 2023, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10076010-ja-morant-appears-to-flash-alleged-gun-during-ig-live-video-2-months-after-suspension

10. “Memphis Grizzlies Suspend Ja Morant After Video Appears to Show Him Holding Gun” Blazer's Edge, 14 May. 2023, https://www.blazersedge.com/2023/5/14/23723147/ja-morant-memphis-grizzlies-gun-instagram-live-suspension-nba-news-lakers-playoffs

11. “Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant over social media post featuring apparent gun” Sportsnet.ca, 14 May. 2023, https://www.sportsnet.ca/nba/article/grizzlies-suspend-ja-morant-over-social-media-post-featuring-apparent-gun/

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