Morant banned for eight games over gun video
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has been suspended for eight games without pay by the NBA after a video showed him holding a gun in a Colorado nightclub.
The All-Star, 23, was in an intoxicated state and his conduct was “detrimental to the league”, the NBA said.
Morant apologised following the live Instagram broadcast on 4 March.
“I don’t condone any type of violence, but I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a bad mistake,” he told ESPN.
Morant has missed five games while the NBA investigated the incident and, as the suspension is backdated,he can return against the Dallas Mavericks on 21 March.
“I feel like in the past we didn’t know what was at stake,” said Morant.
“And now finally me having that time to realise everything, have that time alone, I realise that now.
“I realise what I have to lose and, for us as a group, what we have to lose.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who met with Morant in New York on Wednesday, said his conduct was “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous”.
“It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him,” said Silver.
“He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behaviour.
“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.”
It is legal to carry a gun in Colorado with some exceptions, including possession while under the influence of alcohol.
Glendale Police Department did not find enough evidence to charge anyone for a crime.
The incident occurred hours after the Grizzlies lost 113-97 to the Denver Nuggets. Morant has not played since, while the NBA investigated.
An NBA statement read: “Based on the information obtained during the investigation, the league did not conclude that the gun at issue belonged to Morant, was brought by him into the nightclub or was displayed by him beyond a brief period.
“The investigation also did not find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or in any NBA facility, and the Colorado authorities did not find sufficient cause to charge Morant with a crime.”