Yes Morant suspended 8 games for league damaging behavior
- March 15, 2023
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Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended for eight games without pay for league-damaging conduct, the NBA said Wednesday.
The suspension affects the six games he will miss, including Wednesday in Miami. Morant is eligible to play Dallas on Monday, the same day he can return to the Grizzlies in the team environment.
Morant met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in New York on Wednesday about his handling of a firearm at a nightclub in suburban Denver earlier this month.
“Ja’s behavior was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” Silver said in a statement. “It also has serious implications given his huge following and influence, especially among young fans who look up to him. He has expressed sincere remorse and remorse for his behavior. Ja also made it clear to me that he learned from this incident and that he understands that his obligations and responsibilities to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court.”
The league said, based on information obtained during its investigation, it had not concluded that the gun in question belonged to Morant, was brought to the nightclub by him, or was displayed by Morant beyond a short period of time. The investigation also did not find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or at an NBA facility, and Colorado authorities found insufficient grounds to charge Morant with a felony.
Morant has been seeking help for what he described in a statement as a need to “get help and work on learning better ways to manage stress and my overall well-being,” and that’s what got him from Memphis on vacation from the team brought , sources said. Morant entered a counseling program shortly after the announcement.
The franchise had announced that Morant, 23, would be out until at least Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies said they would continue to prioritize Morant’s desire and after a series of troubling incidents, culminating in him breaking his Instagram live feed on March 4,
The NBA opened an ongoing investigation into the matter, and Wednesday’s meeting with Silver was the final step in that process.
Morant, a two-time All-Star, is a former Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player for one of the league’s rising franchises. Ahead of the Grizzlies’ game against the Dallas Mavericks Monday night, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters, “Ja is fully involved in this process and ready for whatever comes after the next two games.”
Morant began his Instagram Live session at 5:19 p.m. ET, hours after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets last Saturday. Morant could be seen holding up a gun in his left hand. Morant deactivated both his Instagram and Twitter accounts later that day.
In a statement, Morant said he “takes full responsibility for my actions last night”.
“I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down,” the statement read. “I will take some time to get help and work on learning better ways to manage stress and my overall well-being.”
Nike, which has a signature footwear line with Morant, endorsed the Grizzlies star in a statement shortly thereafter.
“We appreciate Ja’s responsibility and that he takes the time to get the help he needs,” the statement said. “We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.