The NBA said they are “investigating” a social media video posted early Saturday morning that appeared to show Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant brandishing a firearm while inside a nightclub.
The Instagram Live video — reportedly uploaded onto Morant’s account just hours after the Grizzlies’ Friday night road loss to the Denver Nuggets — comes just days after a Washington Post report accused Morant of both beating up a 17-year-old boy and threatening a mall security guard during separate incidents in July 2022.
“We are aware of a social media post involving Ja Morant and are investigating,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Saturday (via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski).
Soon after, the Grizzlies announced that Morant would “be away from the team for at least the next two games”; however, the team – currently second place in the Western Conference – did not say specifically that Morant was suspended, nor did they acknowledge the video.
Following the suspension, Morant issued his own statement apologizing for his actions, adding that he would “take some time away to get help” to better deal with stress and “my overall well-being.”
Morant’s alleged fight with the teenager during a pickup basketball game was previously reported — the boy and his mother sued Morant in Jan. 2023, at which point the incident became widely known — but the report earlier this week revealed new details culled from police interviews, including a claim that Morant threatened the teenager with a gun following the physical altercation.
While Morant didn’t pull the gun on the teen, he had his hand on the firearm, the teenager told police. Morant didn’t deny “brandishing” a weapon at the time of his police interview. Witnesses, however, told police that the teenager “squared up” to fight Morant after the ball-throwing incident, and didn’t mention the gun. No charges were filed against Morant.
Morant’s agent called the allegations against his client “unsubstantiated rumors and gossip,” but the All-Star guard has been exceedingly flippant in the aftermath of the Washington Post article, drawing even more controversy when he pretended to shoot an opponent while celebrating a Grizzlies three-pointer earlier this week:
Both July 2022 incidents in the Washington Post report came months before The Athletic reported that members of Morant’s entourage had a heated exchange with players on the Indiana Pacers during and following a game against the Memphis Grizzlies this season. As the Pacers loaded up onto their team bus postgame, an SUV that reportedly carried Morant drove past and put a red laser on members of the Indiana team, with one Pacers’ security person stating at the time “That’s 100 percent a gun.”
However, the NBA — after reviewing video footage — could not corroborate the allegation, and no punishment was handed down following the Pacers incident.
This story was updated March 4 at 5 p.m. EST with Morant’s apology and statement.