The NBA announced Wednesday that Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended eight games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league.
The suspension covers the six games he will miss, including Wednesday at Miami. Morant is eligible to play against Dallas on Monday, the same day he is able to rejoin the Grizzlies in the team environment.
Morant met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in New York on Wednesday to discuss his handling of a firearm at a suburban Denver nightclub earlier this month.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” Silver said in a statement. “Given his massive following and influence this also has serious consequences, especially among younger fans who look up to him. He has expressed serious remorse and remorse for his behavior. Ja also clarified to me that that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibilities to the Memphis Grizzlies and the wider NBA community go well beyond his play on the court.”
The league stated that based on the information obtained during its investigation, it was not conclusive whether the gun case that belonged to Morant was brought by him to the nightclub or was displayed by him after a brief period. The investigation also did not find that Morant had a gun while traveling with the team or at any NBA facility, and Colorado authorities did not find sufficient cause to charge Morant with a crime.
Morant is seeking help for what he described in a statement as a need “to work on finding and learning better ways to deal with stress and my overall well-being,” and he took him out of Memphis on leave from the team. . , sources said. Morant entered a counseling program shortly after making the announcement.
The franchise had announced that the 23-year-old Morant would be out for at least Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies said they would continue to prioritize Morant’s willingness and need to receive assistance after a series of related incidents, which culminated with him brandishing a gun at a suburban Denver nightclub on his Instagram Live feed on March 4. .
The NBA launched an ongoing investigation into the matter, and Wednesday’s meeting with Silver was the final step in that process.
Morant, a two-time All-Star, is a former Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player for one of the rising franchises in the league. Prior to the Grizzlies’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters that, “Jay is fully engaged in the process and ready for whatever comes after the next two games.”
Morant began his Instagram Live session at 5:19 a.m. ET, hours after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets last Saturday. Morant can be seen holding a gun with his left hand. Morant deactivated both his Instagram and Twitter accounts later that day.
In a statement, Morant said that he “takes full responsibility for my actions last night.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization,” the statement said. “I’m going to take some time to get help and learn better ways to deal with stress and my overall well-being.”
Nike, which has a signature shoe line with Morant, supported the Grizzlies star in a statement shortly thereafter.
“We appreciate Ja’s responsiveness and the time he is taking to seek help,” the statement said. “We support their prioritization of their well-being.”
ESPN’s Tim McMahon contributed to this report.