The NBA announced on Friday that Ja Morant, star guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been handed a 25-game suspension for the upcoming season, following his second instance of brandishing a handgun in a social media video. The controversial video, circulated in May, showed Morant displaying the firearm from the passenger seat of a car. This followed a previous incident in March where he served an eight-game suspension for a similar offence at a strip club.
The high-profile player, with a season salary slated around $33.5 million, stands to lose an estimated $7.5 million due to this suspension, which amounts to over $300,000 per game. Alongside the financial penalties, Morant will also have to meet certain requirements set by the NBA before his reinstatement.
Adam Silver announced the punishment, saying:
“Ja Morant’s decision to once again wield a firearm on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he was already suspended eight games.”
“The potential for other young people to emulate Ja’s conduct is particularly concerning. Under these circumstances, we believe a suspension of 25 games is appropriate and makes clear that engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior with guns will not be tolerated.”
Ja Morant has publicly addressed his recent suspension, expressing remorse for his actions. He acknowledged the pain he has caused and issued apologies to the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies, his teammates, and the city of Memphis. Furthermore, Morant directly apologized to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera, and General Manager Zach Kleiman for the damage his actions caused. He also expressed regret to his young fans.