Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant will miss at least the next two games following an NBA investigation into his Instagram Live video in which he displayed what appeared to be a gun while at a nightclub early Saturday morning.
Ja Morant “will be away from the team for at least the next two games,” the Grizzlies announced Saturday afternoon, meaning he will not play Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers or Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We are aware of a social media post involving Ja Morant and are investigating,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said earlier Saturday in a statement.
Morant began his Instagram Live session at 5:19 a.m. ET, just hours after the Grizzlies were defeated by the Denver Nuggets, 113-97. The shirtless All-Star guard, who was rapping along with the music, was seen holding a handgun in his left hand. On Saturday afternoon, Morant deactivated both his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Morant said in a statement that he accepts “full responsibility for my actions last night.”
“I’m sorry for disappointing my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis, and the entire organization,” the statement said. “I’m going to take some time off to seek help and work on improving my stress management and overall well-being.”
In a statement released Saturday evening, Nike, which has a signature shoe line with Morant, backed the Grizzlies star.
“We appreciate Ja’s accountability and the time he is taking to get the help he requires,” the statement said. “We support his decision to prioritize his well-being.”
Morant’s video was released in response to a Washington Post story published Wednesday that detailed two incidents involving Morant this summer that resulted in police reports but no arrests.
In the second incident, a 17-year-old boy claimed Morant emerged from his house with a gun in his waistband and his hand on the weapon after a fight between the boy and Morant during a pickup basketball game in the Grizzlies point guard’s backyard, according to police interviews obtained by The Washington Post. The other incident involved a parking lot altercation with a mall security guard.
“Any and every allegation involving a firearm has been thoroughly investigated and cannot be corroborated,” Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner, said in response to the Post’s story. “This includes the NBA investigation last month, in which no evidence was discovered.”
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This investigation stemmed from a postgame brawl between Morant’s acquaintances and the Indiana Pacers’ traveling party following the Grizzlies’ Jan. 29 home win. Following the allegations made by the Pacers organization that a red laser was pointed at Pacers players from a sports utility vehicle in which Morant was a passenger, NBA security and investigators interviewed numerous eyewitnesses and reviewed video surveillance.
“While we established that a confrontational postgame situation arose, based on interviews and other evidence gathered, we were unable to corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon,” Bass told The Athletic. “Individuals involved in the postgame situation and a related matter during the game that night have been barred from attending future arena games. If new information about the postgame situation becomes available, the league office will conduct an additional investigation.”
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Davonte Pack, a longtime friend of Morant, was barred from the arena following the incident. Pack, who was sitting courtside next to Morant’s father, Tee, was escorted out of the seating area by arena security after stepping onto the court during a verbal altercation with Pacers players in the third quarter.
Brandon Clarke, who suffered an Achilles tear in Friday’s loss, was sidelined for the rest of the season, the Grizzlies learned on Saturday. Memphis will also be without starting forward Dillon Brooks against the Clippers on Sunday because he received his 16th technical foul of the season on Friday, resulting in an automatic one-game suspension.