Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant after he appears to show gun in new video

Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant after he appears to show gun in new video

Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant was suspended from all team activities Sunday after showing what appeared to be a gun in a social media live stream. The new video came a little over two months after Morant was suspended for eight games by the NBA for conduct detrimental to the league after displaying a gun in an Instagram live video taken at a Denver-area nightclub.

The new video looked to show Morant and a friend listening to rap artist NBA YoungBoy while in a car. The camera pans toward Morant a few seconds into the video as he appears to be holding the gun before it quickly turns away.

The Grizzlies announced shortly before noon Sunday that Morant has been “suspended from all team activities pending league review. We have no further comment at this time.” Memphis’s season ended last month with its elimination by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in an email statement to The Washington Post that the league is “aware of the social media post involving Ja Morant and are in the process of gathering more information.”

In early March, a live stream on Instagram showed Morant at the Denver-area club after a Grizzlies loss, dancing and then briefly holding up a gun for the camera in video that was clipped and shared on other social media platforms.

Morant, 23, was suspended for eight games without pay for the incident and enrolled in a counseling program but was not charged with a crime after a police investigation. Conducting its own investigation, the NBA could not determine that the gun belonged to Morant or whether he brought it into the club. He told police that the gun was not his, but has acknowledges owning at least one firearm in court filings.

In Memphis, Ja Morant’s summer of trouble went unchecked by authorities

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had deemed Morant’s behavior to be “irresponsible, reckless and potentially dangerous” in the first video and, as he prepared to return from that suspension, Morant said he was “in a better space mentally” and committed to being a “better me” after following a stint in a Florida counseling center.

He decided to seek counseling, he told reporters, to help manage his stress, and believed that his “stress level had been becoming a problem” before the nightclub incident. “I had considered [seeking help], but I was back and forth,” he said. “I was pretty much afraid to leave the team. I felt that it was needed, and it helped me out a lot.”

Morant added that stress management was an “ongoing process” and that less than two weeks of counseling “doesn’t mean I’m completely better.”

The suspension cost Morant financially, as well. He missed out on around $39 million (in addition to roughly $1.5 million in lost salary) because of his failure to be named to an all-NBA team. Last summer, he signed a designated rookie max extension worth $192.2 million over five years, a number that could have increased to $231.4 million — taking up 30 percent of the Grizzlies’ salary cap — over the life of the deal had Morant made all-NBA for a second consecutive season. He wound up getting only 10 second-team votes and 14 third-team votes, not enough to make any of the three all-NBA teams.

The Grizzlies’ season ended late last month in a first-round playoff series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I’ve just got to be better with my decision-making,” he said after the Grizzlies were eliminated by the Lakers. “That’s pretty much it. Off-the-court issues affected us as an organization pretty much. Just [need] more discipline.”

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This is a developing story and will be updated. Gus Garcia-Roberts contributed to this report.

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