The Memphis Grizzlies suspended two-time All-Star guard Ja Morant on Sunday after he seemed to be clutching a pistol in another social media video aired live on Instagram.
The NBA is now looking into the weekend’s social media video made by the Memphis star. Therefore he has been suspended from all team activities until the investigation is complete.
This is the second time in less than three months that Morant has been shown on Instagram with an apparent weapon in his hand. The first resulted in a $669,000 pay loss for Morant due to an eight-game NBA ban handed down in March.
What penalties Morant may face due to the second video, which was recorded Saturday night and has since gone viral online, is yet unknown. However, a source familiar with the issue told The Associated Press that Davonte Pack, a friend of Morant’s, streamed the video on Instagram. This source spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the NBA nor the Memphis Grizzlies have commented on the contents of the current video.
“We are aware of social media posts involving Ja Morant and in the process of gathering more information,” said by NBA spokesman Mike Bass.
Grizzlies Star Ja Morant Suspended After Controversial Video Surfaces
After the season finished, the Grizzlies announced that Morant would be banned “pending league review.”
Morant seems to momentarily showcase a firearm in the streaming footage while sitting in the passenger seat of a car. During the fraction of a second (or less) that Morant is shown carrying what seems to be a weapon, 111 people watched the livestream.
Morant, a prominent player for the Grizzlies, was suspended for the rest of the season when a video surfaced of him clutching a revolver in a club in the Denver suburbs during early March. After it went viral, Morant said he was stepping away from basketball to receive therapy, though he did not elaborate. ESPN later reported that he was receiving therapy in Florida, and the team acknowledged this, though they did not provide any other information.
After speaking with Morant and determining the duration of the ban, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated in a statement, “Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless, and potentially dangerous.” Given his massive popularity and sway, especially among young admirers who look up to him, it also has major repercussions.
Morant Reflects on Suspension, Vows to Learn and Improve
While on suspension, Morant gave an interview to ESPN in which he accepted responsibility for the video.
”I don’t condone any form of violence,” Morant said to ESPN. But I accept complete responsibility for all I’ve done. I made a big error, and now I can see the picture that my most recent missteps have created of me. However, in the future, I intend to show everyone who Ja truly is and what I am about to alter this prevailing story.
A few weeks ago, when the season concluded, Morant reiterated that he needed to improve his decision-making.
Morant remarked after a season-ending defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers, “Being disciplined on both sides, off court making better decisions and on court being locked in even more.” “As the team captain, it’s mostly on me to set the tone… I need to improve myself in that respect.
Morant’s Lucrative Deal Begins Amid Sponsorship Fallout and Playoff Disappointment
This upcoming season will begin Morant’s five-year, $194 million maximum deal. The loss of nearly $39 million in potential earnings resulted from his failure to make All-NBA this season. Nike and Powerade sponsor him, however once the March video surfaced, Powerade quickly removed his advertisement.
There is no doubting his skill on the court. He led Memphis to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs by averaging 27.4 points per game last year and 26.2 points per game this year.
The Grizzlies’ season, however, petered out due to internal strife. They were swept out of the first round by the Lakers, losing the last game of the series by a score of 40–2. Nevertheless, the series was memorable as much for the trash talking and theatrics as for the real basketball players.
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