(Los Angeles) Young Grizzlies star Ja Morant, who posted a video of himself brandishing a gun in a nightclub, has been suspended for eight games “for conduct harmful to the league”, announced Wednesday the NBA.
This suspension “without payment of salary” is retroactive, the body said. The rear, who had been dismissed until further notice by his club and has already missed five games, will therefore be able to rejoin the Memphis team next Monday, when the Dallas Mavericks are received.
In the early hours of March 4, 23-year-old Morant, one of the league’s most prominent players, posted a live video in which he briefly held a handgun at a nightclub in Glendale, Colorado.
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 NBA investigation also conducted its own, establishing that Morant “was intoxicated” at the time.
“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 traveling with the team or at an NBA facility.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” league boss Adam Silver said after a meeting at NBA offices in New York with Morant, also attended by the players’ union director. (NBPA).
“It also has serious consequences given the considerable influence he wields, especially on 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” in his home in July 2022. His agent claimed at the time that he had acted in self-defence.
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 All-Star selections, only by his statistical performance.
This season, he averages 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6 rebounds per game, contributing greatly to the excellent season of his team, currently 2nd in the Western Conference and promised to the playoffs.