Ja Morant is coming off of a controversial season. He is involved in a legal battle with a teenager after the two allegedly fought at a pickup game at Morant's home. He was of threatening a mall security guard. In March, he missed nine games after a video of him with a gun at a Colorado night club surfaced on Instagram. He eventually returned to the team, and the hope was that he had put his issues behind him. But on Saturday, another Instagram Live video surfaced.
This one seemingly showed Morant in a car, yet again wielding a gun. It is not clear at this time whose gun he is holding or where the car is driving and what gun laws are in place in that area, but the Grizzlies have suspended him from all team activities as it investigates the situation. "We are aware of the social media post involving Ja Morant and are in the process of gathering more information," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
Morant took responsibility for his mistakes in March when he returned to the team. "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 Grizzlies lost their first-round series to the Los Angeles Lakers, citing the need for "discipline" and to "make better decisions.". "So my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible, more smarter, and don't cause any of that no more." He after the the
But the Grizzlies are now less than three weeks into their offseason, and another video has already surfaced of Morant with a gun. Morant has already felt the tangible consequences of these mistakes. Morant was not chosen as an All-NBA player this week seemingly due in part to the games he missed as a result of his off-court mistakes. Thatroughly $38 million on his next contract, as his rookie extension included Rose Rule escalators that he is no longer eligible for. Morant against Joshua Holloway, the teenager who is suing him over the pickup confrontation last offseason, alleging in part that the suit helped cost him that money.
It is not clear at this stage what steps the NBA or the Grizzlies can take to discipline Morant beyond this initial suspension. In March, one of the primary questions was whether or not Morant had brought a firearm onto either team premises or the team plane, because doing so would have triggered an automatic 50-game suspension. Additionally, Morant was investigated by Colorado police for the incident, though they would later say that "there was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime." In the end he was suspended eight games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league. This video was taken in the offseason in someone's personal vehicle, so that may change the investigation process.
Still, this is concerning for Morant and the Grizzlies. Morant made a series of poor decisions over the past year, but the hope after his March suspension was that he had turned a corner and learned from his mistakes. For a video like this to surface less than one month into his offseason is not a development anyone was hoping for.