Ja Morant, Grizzlies star who posted a video of himself brandishing a gun in a nightclub, has been suspended for eight games “for conduct harmful to the league,” the NBA announced Wednesday.
This suspension, “without payment of salary” is retroactive, said the body. The back, who had been ruled out until further notice by his club and has already missed several matches, will therefore be able to rejoin the team of Memphis next Monday, at the reception of the Dallas Mavericks.
On March 4 in the early morning, I Morant23, one of the most prominent players in the championship, had posted a livestream, in which he briefly held a handgun in a nightclub, in Glendale, Colorado.
“I realize what I have to lose (…) It’s just about being more responsible, smarter and avoiding making the wrong decisions,” Morant said in an interview with ESPN. .
The local police had opened an investigation and “concluded that no one had been threatened by the firearm and that in fact no firearm had been found”, deciding not to charge the young man. The latter, without saying how she had ended up in his hands, assured that she “did not (him) belong”.
The NBA also conducted its investigation, establishing that Morant “was intoxicated” at the time of the facts. “Based on the information obtained, the league has not concluded that the weapon in question belonged to Morant, that he brought it into the nightclub, or that he exhibited it beyond a brief period. The investigation also did not establish that he had possessed the weapon, while he was traveling with the team or at an NBA facility,” added the authority.
“Irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous driving”
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” the league boss said Adam Silverafter a meeting in the offices of the NBA in New York with Morant, in the presence also of the director of the union of the players (NBPA).
“It also has serious consequences given the considerable influence he wields, especially over young fans who look up to him. He expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior,” he added. .
Morant, who apologized in a statement the day after the incident, adding that he wanted “to get help to manage (his) stress and (his) general well-being”, joined a psychological support program in Florida for a few days. “Ja made it clear to me that he learned his lessons from this incident and that he understood that his obligations and responsibility to the Grizzlies and the entire NBA community went far beyond his performance on the field,” Silver concluded.
The incident is the latest in a series involving Morant, who was accused of punching a 17-year-old boy “12 to 13 times” at his home in July 2022. His agent claimed at the time that he had acted in self-defense.
Selected in second position in the draft in 2019 by Memphis, the rear has since continued to confirm on the courts the great hopes placed in him, both by his spectacular game with dunks which regularly go around the web and have earned two consecutive selections at the All-Star Gamethan by its statistical performance.
This season, he posted averages of 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6 rebounds per game, contributing largely to the excellent season of his team, currently 2nd in the Western Conference and promised to the play-offs.