When Ja Morant was suspended in March for bringing a gun to a nightclub in Colorado, he resolved to be more responsible moving forward. "Obviously, I've made mistakes in the past that cause a lot of negative attention -- not only to me, but my family as well, my team, the organization -- and I'm completely sorry for that," Morant said at the time. "So my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible, more smarter, and don't cause any of that no more."
By that measure, the offseason hasn't exactly gotten off to a good start. On May 14, less than three weeks after the Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers, a second Instagram Live video surfaced of Morant with a gun in a car. He has already been suspended indefinitely from all team activities, and reports suggest that he could now be facing a to open next season.
"Honestly, I was shocked when I saw this weekend that video," NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN's Malika Andrews before Tuesday's draft lottery in Chicago. "The video is a bit grainy and all that, but I'm assuming the worst." Silver met with Morant in New York in March to discuss his last suspension. Now, Morant is doing damage control as the league ponders another punishment. On Tuesday night, he issued a statement apologizing for the video.
"I know I've disappointed a lot of people who have supported me," Morant wrote. "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."
That commitment was supposed to be present following the first incident, in which he was seen brandishing a gun in another social video shared while he was at a Denver strip club on Match 4. Morant served an eight-game suspension, attended a counseling program and had a face-to-face meeting with Silver. The expectation is that he will now face more severe discipline. Morant, 23, has a chance to grow into one of the NBA's brightest stars, but before that is possible, he has to get out of his own way.