The Memphis Grizzlies suspended star Ja Morant on Sunday morning after recordings of an Instagram Live that featured him appearing to hold a handgun circulated online, a little more than two months after he was suspended for a similar incident.
“We are aware of the social media video involving Ja Morant,” the Grizzlies said in a statement. “He is suspended from all team activities pending League review. We have no further comment at the time.”
NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said that the league was aware of the social media post and was in the process of gathering more information.
The video was posted Saturday to the account of _dtap2, who describes himself as a YouTuber and founder of a clothing brand. Recordings of the livestream show four people singing and dancing in a car. Morant is seen in the video sitting in the front passenger seat. At one point, the camera pans to Morant, who appears to be holding a handgun in his left hand, pointed upward, near his head. The camera quickly pans away, but screenshots of the moment clearly show an object that resembles a handgun.
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It is unclear whether the gun is real, whether it belongs to Morant, or when and where the recording was made.
The agent who represents Morant did not respond to requests for comment made Sunday morning by USA TODAY Sports.
When did Ja Morant previously get in trouble for brandishing gun on Instagram Live?
This comes a little more than two months after Morant was suspended for a similar matter, when he brandished a gun at a nightclub in a Denver suburb in a March 4 Instagram Live posted to his own account, just hours after the Grizzlies played the Nuggets in an eventual 113-97 Memphis defeat.
Morant issued a statement later in the day, indicating that he was “going to take some time away” to get help on managing stress and his overall well-being.
The NBA opened an investigation into the matter and eventually suspended Morant eight games. Police in Colorado also launched an investigation but later said there was “not enough available evidence” to charge Morant with any crime.
What did Ja Morant say when he returned from his suspension?
Once he returned, Morant indicated that he would be altering his behavior and said he would not be appearing on Instagram Live videos.
“Just being more responsible, more smarter. That’s pretty much it for me,” Morant said. “Obviously, I made mistakes in the past, caused a lot of negative attention not only for me, but my family and my team and the organization, and I’m completely sorry for that. So my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible and more smarter and don’t cause any of that no more.”
While he deactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts during his suspension, both were currently active as of Sunday morning.
How did the Memphis Grizzlies fare with Ja Morant suspended?
The Grizzlies went 5-3 in the absence of Morant, who entered a counseling program in Florida during his suspension.
Memphis finished the regular season 51-31, good for the second seed in the Western Conference, though the Grizzlies lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, in six games.
Morant had 10 points and shot 3-for-16 from the floor in the deciding game of the series.