The Commercial Appeal

Morant suspended for eight games

- Damichael Cole

The NBA is suspending Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant eight games due to conduct detrimenta­l to the team, the league announced on Wednesday

Morant has been away from the Grizzlies since March 4, when started recording an Instagram Live video at 4:19 a.m. CT that purportedl­y showed the two-time All-star brandishin­g a handgun. The Grizzlies announced later that day that Morant would step away from the team, and Morant later released his own statement.

Morant is eligible to return to the team on March 20, which is when the

Grizzlies host the Dallas Mavericks.

NBA commission­er Adam Silver conducted a meeting with Morant on Wednesday. NBA Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars and NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio were among the people who attended the meeting.

“Ja’s conduct was irresponsi­ble, reckless and potentiall­y very dangerous,” Silver said in a statement. “It also has serious consequenc­es given his enormous following and influence, particular­ly among young fans who look up to him. He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understand­s his obligation­s and responsibi­lity to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court.”

The NBA announced on March 4 that it was conducting an investigat­ion into the video. The league’s finding did not conclude that the gun belonged to Morant, or that he possessed the gun while traveling with the team or in any NBA facility. A Colorado police investigat­ion was also conducted and was quickly closed after determinin­g Morant wouldn’t face any charges.

Since he’s suspended, Morant won’t be allowed at the team’s facility until March 20. That means it’s unlikely that he will play that day, since he’ll need a ramp-up period after being away for 16 days.

 ?? DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP ?? Grizzlies guard Ja Morant looks to the bench during a game against Denver on March 3.
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP Grizzlies guard Ja Morant looks to the bench during a game against Denver on March 3.

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