The Memphis Grizzlies have suspended star player Ja Morant from all offseason team activities following the emergence of a video on social media showing him holding a firearm. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver described himself as “shocked” by the video, which surfaced less than two months after he met with Morant to discuss a similar incident that resulted in an eight-game suspension.
The earlier incident occurred in March, when Morant was seen holding a handgun while intoxicated during an Instagram Live session at a Denver area club. The Grizzlies suspended him without pay for eight games for conduct detrimental to the league, a punishment that included six games he had already missed. Morant later enrolled in a counseling facility in Florida to learn how to manage stress better, before traveling to New York City to meet with Silver at the commissioner’s office.
During that meeting, Silver impressed upon Morant the seriousness of his conduct, not just in terms of his career, but also the safety issues surrounding it. Morant has a huge following, and Silver expressed concern that millions of kids globally would have seen him celebrating the use of a firearm in that fashion.
The new video was posted on the account of Morant’s best friend, Davonte Pack, who has been involved in several of Morant’s off-court incidents that merited investigation from the league office. Pack was banned from attending Grizzlies home games for a year following an investigation into a postgame confrontation with the Indiana Pacers’ traveling party in January, during which a red laser was alleged to have been pointed out of an SUV in which Morant was traveling.
The NBA is investigating the new video, which Silver said is “a bit grainy,” but he is “assuming the worst.” The league will determine what happened to the best of their ability. Silver emphasized that the earlier incident was incredibly serious, and Morant seemed to take it very seriously at the time.
Silver said that before they discussed the potential for Morant to have done something wrong, they focused on the misconduct that was in front of them at the time. They talked directly about the consequences first, and most of their conversation was about how incredibly serious the first incident was.
Silver expressed concern about the safety issues around Morant’s conduct, noting that he could have injured, maimed, or killed himself or someone else with an act like that. The NBA takes these incidents very seriously, and Morant’s latest incident will be thoroughly investigated to ensure that appropriate action is taken.
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