Ja Morant Issues Apology for Showing Gun on Instagram After NBA Initiates Investigation
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NBA player Ja Morant has issued an apology after allegedly showing off his gun on social media, prompting an initial two-game suspension amid an investigation by the league.
The Memphis Grizzlies point guard apologized for his behavior on Saturday in a statement obtained by ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.
"I take full responsibility for my actions last night," Morant said in the statement. "I'm sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down."
"I'm going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being," he added.
Statement from Ja Morant:
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night. I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down….”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 4, 2023
Morant started an Instagram Live hours after the Grizzlies' 113-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday. In the video, he appeared to be partying in a club shirtless and at one point appeared to hold up a handgun with his left hand while smiling.
Following the release of the video, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement that the league was "aware of a social media post" and was "investigating" the incident, per ESPN.
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The Memphis Grizzlies team also issued a statement saying that Morant would be "away from the team for at least the next two games." This means that he will miss Sunday's game against the L.A. Clippers and Tuesday's game against the Lakers.
Statement from the Memphis Grizzlies pic.twitter.com/CLB2TG5nnI
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) March 4, 2023
Morant was also involved in two other altercations last summer, according to an article published by The Washington Post on Wednesday.
In one incident, Morant allegedly "threatened" the head of security at a Memphis mall after an altercation in the parking lot prompting him to file a police report, according to the publication. In another incident, a teenage boy allegedly reported to police that Morant had punched him during a pickup basketball game at Morant's house. According to the police report, Morant reportedly claimed that he had acted in "self-defense" because the boy threw the ball at his head.
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In a statement to the publication, Morant's agent Jim Tanner said that these claims were "unsubstantiated rumors and gossip" created "by people motivated to tear Ja down and tarnish his reputation for their own financial gain."
"Any and every allegation involving a firearm has been fully investigated and could not be corroborated. This includes the NBA investigation [in January], in which they found no evidence," Tanner told the Post.
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The investigation that Tanner referred to was an alleged confrontation between Morant's acquaintances and members of the Indiana Pacers' traveling party near the team's bus, which was first reported by The Athletic. Someone in a slow-moving SUV that Morant was riding in reportedly trained a red laser at the party.
NBA spokesperson Bass told The Athletic at the time: "While we substantiated that a postgame situation arose that was confrontational, based on interviews and other evidence gathered, we could not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon."