What did Ja Morant say about his latest gun video?
Ja Morant has spoken publicly for the first time following his suspension after an Instagram Live video showed him flashing a gun for a second time.
On Sunday, news broke that Memphis Grizzlies’ superstar Ja Morant had been suspended yet again for an Instagram Live video that showed him flashing a gun - the same offense that saw him suspended for eight games without pay back in March. He has now broken his silence on the matter, expressing regret for the disappointment he’s caused.
Ja Morant’s statement and punishment by the NBA
The Grizzlies, who finished their season after losing the first round of playoffs, suspended Morant from all team activities pending the review by the NBA. League commissioner Adam Silver expressed shock and disappointment upon seeing the video, as he thought he would see a change in behavior after the last time this happened. When the video surfaced in March, it was at a nightclub in Denver, Colorado, and Silver decided to suspend Morant for eight games, citing “irresponsible, reckless, and potentially very dangerous” conduct.
At that time, Morant spent 11 days in a Florida counseling facility to learn strategies to manage stress in more positive ways. He apologized for his actions and had said he would try to do better in the future to prove “who Ja really is”. So it comes as an even bigger disappointment to see the same issue popping up again.
“The consequences there - an eight-game suspension - was pretty serious and something that he, at least to me, seemed to take incredibly seriously in that time. And we spoke for a long time about not just the consequences that could have on his career, but the safety issues around it,” said Silver. “He could’ve injured, maimed, killed himself, someone else with an act like that, and also the acknowledgment that he’s a star. He has an incredibly huge following, and [we discussed] my concern, and I thought he shared with me, that millions, if not tens of millions, of kids globally would have seen him do something that was celebrating in a way that act of using a firearm in that fashion.”
The video that came out over the weekend was from the Instagram account of Morant’s friend, Davonte Pack, who was involved in another incident with Morant that led to league investigation. In January, Pack and Morant were together in an SUV which pointed a red laser at the Indiana Pacers’ traveling party, which led to the suspicion that there could have been a gun involved, and thus, a big threat. The NBA eventually found that there was no proof of a weapon, but Pack was banned from attending Grizzlies games for a year after the incident.
Morant has now spoken publicly about the incident for the first time, releasing a statement through his agents:
“I know I’ve disappointed a lot of people who have supported me. This is a journey and I recognize there is more work to do. My words may not mean much right now, but I take full accountability for my actions. I’m committed to continuing to work on myself.”
Whether or not Morant actually committed a crime is no longer the biggest issue. Considering this was one of several off-court issues, the league will now have to consider if Morant’s behavior violated a clause in the NBA collective bargaining agreement that discusses detrimental conduct. An eight-game suspension was fairly lenient and the second time is likely to see a much harsher punishment - perhaps at least twice the length at the beginning of next season.
In any case, Morant should be held accountable for his actions, regardless of his status as a star player.