On the morning of March 4, Ja Morant posted a video that sent shockwaves throughout the NBA.
During an Instagram Live stream, the Grizzlies star appeared to flash a gun at a nightclub in Glendale, Colo. The incident, which took place hours after Memphis’ loss to Denver, sparked investigations by the league and a local police department and prompted several important questions about Morant’s future.
Here’s everything we know about Morant’s situation, including the latest details on his status with the Grizzlies.
MORE: Jalen Rose sends heartfelt message to Ja Morant
What happened on Ja Morant’s Instagram Live video?
In the video, Morant can be seen dancing and rapping along to a song. At one point, he appears to display a gun with his left hand.
(Note: Explicit language in the clip below.)
Grizzlies star Ja Morant was allegedly seen showing off a gun on his IG Live this morning.pic.twitter.com/HlhvoWlnYy
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 4, 2023
How did Ja Morant, the Grizzlies and the NBA react?
Morant issued an apology on March 4, saying that he takes “full responsibility for his actions.” In his statement, Morant announced that he would “take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
He also deactivated his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Ja Morant has deactivated his Instagram and Twitter accounts. pic.twitter.com/PG5aBkgwxr
— Damichael Cole (@DamichaelC) March 4, 2023
In a separate statement, the Grizzlies said that Morant would be “away from the team for at least the next two games.” They did not refer to his absence as a suspension.
An NBA spokesperson announced that the league was aware of the video and had launched an investigation.
Will Ja Morant be charged with a crime?
Morant will not be charged with a crime in Colorado.
On March 6, the Glendale Police Department said that it was investigating Morant’s actions. Colorado is an open-carry state, but it is illegal to possess a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.
The Glendale Police Department revealed the results of its investigation on March 8, saying that it was able to confirm where the incident occurred but could not “determine that probable cause existed for the filing of any charges.”
Per the department’s statement:
In this case, it should be noted that the night in question the GPD did not receive any calls for service at the nightclub regarding a weapon of any type. Subsequently, no disturbances were reported, and no citizens or patrons of the club came forward to make a complaint.
The investigation also concluded that no one was threatened or menaced with the firearm and in fact no firearm was ever located. Although the video was concerning enough to prompt an investigation, there was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime.
MORE: The Ja Morant timeline of trouble
Will Ja Morant be suspended by the NBA?
It’s unclear if Morant will be suspended, as the league’s investigation is still ongoing.
If Morant had a gun at a team facility or transported a gun on a team plane, NBA commissioner Adam Silver would have the power to suspend him, according to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Here is the key section from that document:
Whenever a player is physically present at a facility or venue owned, operated, or being used by a Team, the NBA, or any League-related entity, and whenever a player is traveling on any NBA-related business, whether on behalf of the player’s Team, the NBA, or any League-related entity, such player shall not possess a firearm of any kind or any other deadly weapon.
For purposes of the foregoing, “a facility or venue” includes, but is not limited to: an arena; a practice facility; a Team or League office or facility; an All-Star or NBA Playoff venue; and the site of a promotional or charitable appearance.
Additionally, if Morant owned a gun, he would have been required to show the Grizzlies proof that he “possesses a license or registration as required by law for any such firearm” before the start of the season, per the CBA.
NBA suspensions for other gun-related incidents
The most infamous gun-related incident in recent NBA history involved Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton.
In December 2009, the former Wizards guards reportedly drew guns during a heated dispute in the team’s locker room. Washington confirmed that Arenas had stored firearms in his locker, and an NBA investigation concluded that both players displayed guns at a team facility.
Silver’s predecessor, David Stern, suspended Arenas and Crittenton for the remainder of the 2009-10 season. Arenas missed a total of 50 games not only for bringing guns into a locker room, but also for making light of the situation.
Beyond the Arenas-Crittenton incident, Stephen Jackson received a seven-game suspension in 2007 for firing a gun outside of a strip club, and Sebastian Telfair was suspended for two games in 2006 after a gun was found on a team plane.
Telfair claimed the gun belonged to his girlfriend, and he had grabbed her bag by mistake.
Is Ja Morant facing a 50-game suspension?
While there were some rumors swirling of a potential 50-game suspension based on past precedent with Arenas, there is no language in the CBA specifying how long a gun-related suspension should last.
The CBA outlines that any punishment falls under the discretion of the commissioner, so Silver will have the final say on a suspension.
What happens next for Ja Morant and the Grizzlies?
The Grizzlies announced on March 8 that Morant would continue to remain away from the team for at least the next four games. That means his earliest possible return date is March 17 against the Spurs.
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters on March 7 that putting a timetable on Morant’s return would be “disrespectful.”
“It’s a healing process, so if everyone expects something to change overnight, we’ve got to [do] due diligence and [be] respectful on that,” Jenkins said. “We’re talking about Ja being in a better place personally and also professionally.”
On March 13, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon reported that “Morant has entered a counseling program in Florida and there remains no timetable for his return to active play,”
“There are a lot of internal dialogues going on and obviously there’s still things going on at the league level that we’re in communication with,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins told MacMahon.
“Ja’s fully engaged in this process and ready for whatever comes next after these two games.
Grizzlies schedule 2022-23
Here are Memphis’ next five games of the 2022-23 regular season:
|March 15||at Heat||7:30 p.m.|
|March 17||at Spurs||8 p.m.|
|March 18||vs. Warriors||8 p.m.|
|March 20||vs. Mavericks||8 p.m.|
|March 22||vs. Rockets||8 p.m.|