NBA suspends Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant 8 games for displaying a gun at a club
MIAMI — The NBA suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant eight games without pay on Wednesday after determining that his displaying a firearm at a club in suburban Denver earlier this month was "conduct detrimental to the league."
Morant will miss his sixth game when the Grizzlies play in Miami on Wednesday night. He will miss the next two games and be eligible to return on Monday when Memphis plays Dallas.
The games he already missed will count toward the suspension, and Morant will forfeit about $669,000 in salary.
"Ja's conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him."
Silver met with Morant in New York before announcing the league's decision. The Grizzlies had no immediate comment; coach Taylor Jenkins is scheduled to hold his standard pregame availability Wednesday evening in Miami before the game against the Heat.
The league's investigation, which started almost immediately after the March 4 incident in which Morant livestreamed himself on Instagram, found that he was "holding a firearm in an intoxicated state" — but did not prove that the gun was owned by Morant "or was displayed by him beyond a brief period."
The league investigation also did not find that Morant had the gun with him on Memphis' flight to Denver for that game, or that he possessed the gun while in any NBA facility. Police in Colorado said last week that they looked into the circumstances surrounding the video and concluded that there was no reason to charge Morant with a crime.
"He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior," Silver said. "Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court."