Grizzlies star Ja Morant will be “away from the team” for at least two games after he appeared to brandish a gun in a video on Instagram Live.
The video showed the two-time All-Star holding a weapon as he partied in a nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning. It’s unclear where the video was filmed, but the Grizzlies had finished a game in Denver several hours earlier. Morant dropped 27 points and 10 assists in a 113-97 loss to the Nuggets.
In a statement on Saturday, Memphis announced Morant will miss at least two games in the wake of the incident.
Statement from the Memphis Grizzlies pic.twitter.com/CLB2TG5nnI
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) March 4, 2023
Those two games will both be on the road in Los Angeles, first against the Clippers on Sunday night and then against the Lakers on Tuesday night. The Grizzlies will return home to Memphis to face the Warriors on Thursday.
Morant released a statement on Saturday apologizing for the incident.
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night,” he wrote. “I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down.
“I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
Grizzlies’ Ja Morant releases statement and says he is going to take time away to receive help: pic.twitter.com/5TxS7Qh3kJ
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 4, 2023
MORE: Jalen Rose sends heartfelt message to Ja Morant
Is Ja Morant suspended?
Technically, no. He has yet to be disciplined by the league, and the Grizzlies didn’t officially say they were suspending Morant. He is just “away from the team.”
But soon, Morant could be facing discipline from the NBA.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday the league has already launched an investigation into the incident. Depending on what it finds, he could face more serious consequences.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted, NBA players are not allowed to be in possession of firearms when “traveling on any NBA-related business.”
We will see how the Ja Morant situation develops.
There are likely legal consequences because he is an out of state resident viewed in possession of a gun.
Here’s the CBA language for NBA discipline pic.twitter.com/S0cBpiGthC
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) March 4, 2023
Morant could also face legal repercussions as an out-of-state resident in possession of a firearm.
On Monday, police in Glendale, Colo., said they are investigating Morant’s actions. While Colorado is an open-carry state, there are exceptions, including the carrying of a firearm on federal property. It is also illegal to possess a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.
Glendale, Colo. police dept confirms to ESPN “there is an investigation” into Ja Morant’s actions where he flashed what appeared to be a gun early Sat AM. Colorado is open carry but it is illegal in that state to possess a firearm while under the influence of alcohol
— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) March 6, 2023
This is the latest in a long line of controversies for the star point guard, who was recently accused of repeatedly punching a teenage boy in the head and threatening him with a gun during an incident last summer.
Morant was also involved in an altercation with Pacers team members in January. They claimed a red laser was pointed at them from a car containing Morant and several others. His agent denied those allegations, and he didn’t face any legal or disciplinary consequences.
At this point, the earliest we could see Morant back in action is on Thursday against the Warriors. But it seems possible he could be sidelined for a whole lot longer than that.