Ja Morant, a player for the Memphis Grizzlies, was seen flashing a pistol in a social media video for the second time this year and received a 25-game suspension by the NBA on Friday.
One of the NBA’s most promising young players, Morant, had previously completed an eight-game ban in March after another video in which he was seen flashing a gun at a club.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated in a statement that the latest ban of Morant would be a sign that the league will tighten down on “reckless behavior” with weapons.
Ja Morant’s choice to use a gun again on social media is concerning and troubling, according to Silver, especially in light of the fact that he engaged in similar behavior back in March for which he was previously given an eight-game suspension.
“It’s especially alarming that other young people could adopt Ja’s behavior. Given these facts, we think a suspension of 25 games is reasonable and makes it obvious that using firearms carelessly or irresponsibly won’t be accepted.
Morant said in a statement that he intended to spend the offseason focusing on his mental health. He had previously sought counseling to handle stress after his initial ban.
Following the release of the most recent gun footage last month, the Grizzlies last month banned Morant from team activities. “I’ve had time to reflect and realize how much hurt I’ve caused,” said Morant.
“I would want to express my regret to the NBA, the Grizzlies, my team, and the community of Memphis. I’m continuing to work on my own mental health and decision-making during the off-season and my ban.
I really hope you’ll give me the opportunity to gradually demonstrate to you that I’m a better guy than I’ve been portraying.
The Grizzlies formally acknowledged Morant’s ban in a separate statement.
Memphis said, “We appreciate the league’s decision to punish Ja Morant as a result of this most recent incident.
We expect all members of the squad to uphold our defined standards as a league and team.
The league’s players union, the National Basketball Players Association, criticized the length of Morant’s ban, calling it “excessive and inappropriate.”
In a statement, NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio stated, “It is not fair consistent with past discipline in our league,” adding that Morant had “expressed remorse and accepted responsibility for his actions.”
Ja will be included in all decision-making and subsequent measures, said Tremaglio.
The latest setback in what has already been a difficult year for Morant, who is considered as one of the NBA’s most talented young players.
A high school student who claims Morant punched him during a pick-up basketball game at the athlete’s house in July 2022 has also filed a lawsuit against the 23-year-old.
The player’s agent claimed that the player was acting in self defense in that event, which resulted in no charges being filed.
In February, the NBA looked into claims made by the Indiana Pacers that Morant’s entourage “aggressively confronted” members of the team’s traveling party and may have even pointed a red laser at them after a game in Memphis.
When it comes to Morant, Silver remarked on Friday that “basketball needs to take a back seat” for the time being.
“He will be required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior before he is allowed to play again,” Silver added.
Due to his ban, Morant won’t likely contend for any individual awards at the conclusion of the 2024 season.
According to the collective bargaining agreement of the NBA, a player must participate in at least 65 of the league’s 82 regular-season games in order to be considered for honors like Most Valuable Player.