Memphis Grizzlies All-Star guard Ja Morant was the subject of a detailed story earlier this week which alleged his involvement in three violent off-court incidents. Saturday, the team announced he has been suspended for two games after he became the subject of an investigation by the NBA concerning his actions on an early Saturday morning Instagram Live.
Instagram Live videos delete when they conclude, but his social media activity was screen recorded, screen shotted and recirculated on the internet.
Morant appeared to be recording from a strip club after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 road loss to the Denver Nuggets Friday night. Morant had 27 points and 10 assists in the effort.
In the video, Morant appears to hold a firearm to the side of his head and flash it repeatedly.
“We are aware of a social media post involving Ja Morant and are investigating,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.
He will miss a Southern California road trip where the Grizzlies will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday before meeting the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Ja Morant issues apology for gun video
Morant issued a statement via his agent, Jim Tanner”
The 23-year-old is at a turning point in his life and career. Playing at a high level in his fourth professional season, his stardom has positioned him as a top pitchman for Nike and an endorser for Powerade.
A token of his success with Nike appears in the circulating video footage, with Morant shirtless and wearing the diamond pendant the shoe giant gifted him at the NBA All-Star Game in February. Nike released a statement later Saturday expressing support for Morant to get help:
The viral footage comes after a Wednesday report from the Washington Post, which outlined three separate incidents. The first alleges Morant assaulted a teenager in his neighborhood with a gun in his waistband, although the police report did not say Morant pulled out the weapon.
In a separate incident, he and nine friends reportedly arrived at a Finish Line shoe store in a mall to handle a dispute concerning his mother. The most recent allegation involves someone riding in Morant’s car pointing a laser at members of the Indiana Pacers’ traveling party. Morant denies each instance, with his lawyer and agent issuing a statement in the aftermath of the story.
Aside from any potential criminal charges from the aforementioned reported incidents, Morant now faces an investigation from the league for activity that he chose to share on social media himself.
In a report from the Washington Post, it outlined three separate incidents — one where he allegedly assaulted a teenager in his neighborhood where the teen alleged Morant had a gun in his waistband (the police report did not say Morant pulled out the weapon), another where he and nine friends pulled up at a Finish Line in a mall to handle a dispute concerning his mother and the most recent allegation where someone riding in Morant’s car apparently pointed a laser at members of the Indiana Pacers’ traveling party — none of which paints Morant or people in his circle in a positive light.
Morant denies each instance, with his lawyer and agent issuing a statement in the aftermath of the story. And for the record, he hasn’t been formally charged with anything criminal. Punching a teenager repeatedly after a backyard basketball game, or threatening a mall security guard by saying aloud you’ll find out what time he gets off isn’t something the NBA can wrap its arms around, even if it wants to.