The NBA has handed down a severe punishment to Memphis Grizzlies’ standout player Ja Morant after he was found to have violated league conduct policies for the second time. Morant has been suspended for 25 games without pay following an incident involving the display of a firearm during a live-streamed video on social media.
The league’s decision comes less than two months after Morant’s previous suspension, during which he was barred from playing eight games due to a similar incident involving a firearm. The first violation occurred on March 4 when Morant live-streamed a video from a Denver nightclub, displaying a firearm while appearing to be under the influence.
The latest incident took place on May 13 when Morant was captured on Instagram Live in a car, intentionally and prominently displaying a firearm as he and several other individuals were leaving a social gathering in Memphis. Despite his previous suspension and public commitments to the NBA, Morant chose to repeat this behavior, fully aware that he was being recorded and streamed live.
In response to his actions, the league office determined that Morant had engaged in conduct detrimental to the league. On May 16, Morant issued a statement taking full accountability for his actions, expressing regret, and vowing to learn from his mistakes.
Effective immediately, Morant’s suspension will extend through the first 25 games of the upcoming 2023-24 NBA regular season. Additionally, he will be required to fulfill specific conditions before he can return to play. During the suspension period, Morant will be prohibited from participating in any public league or team activities, including preseason games.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in a statement, addressed the severity of the situation, emphasizing the potential impact on impressionable young individuals who may look up to Morant. He stated, “Ja Morant’s decision to once again wield a firearm on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he was already suspended eight games. The potential for other young people to emulate Ja’s conduct is particularly concerning.”
Silver continued, “Under these circumstances, we believe a suspension of 25 games is appropriate and makes clear that engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior with guns will not be tolerated.”
The Commissioner also stressed that Morant’s focus should shift away from basketball for the time being. Before his return to play, Morant will be required to participate in a program developed in collaboration with the league, specifically addressing the circumstances that led to his repeated violation of conduct policies.
Ja Morant’s suspension serves as a significant setback for both the Memphis Grizzlies and the player himself. The team will need to navigate a substantial portion of the upcoming season without their star point guard, while Morant will have to reflect on his actions and take necessary steps to prevent any further violations.