Ja Morant suspended for 8 games by NBA for 'conduct detrimental to the league'
By David Close, CNN
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has been suspended by the NBA for eight games without pay for "conduct detrimental to the league," officials announced Wednesday.
The punishment follows an incident where Morant was seen in an Instagram Live video holding a gun at a nightclub outside Denver.
The league said an investigation "did not conclude that the gun at issue belonged to Morant, was brought by him into the nightclub or was displayed by him beyond a brief period. The investigation also did not find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or in any NBA facility."
The suspension includes the five games Morant had already missed since the incident and Memphis' games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
He will be eligible to play Monday in a home game against the Dallas Mavericks.
In an interview with ESPN on Wednesday, Morant said the gun in the video wasn't his, and that he made a "terrible mistake" by posting the video of himself holding the weapon. He apologized to his team, his family and the league.
"It's not who I am," Morant said. "I don't condone any type of violence but I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a bad mistake, and I can see that image I painted over myself with my recent mistakes, but in the future, I'll make sure everybody knows who Ja really is, and what I'm about and change this narrative."
Morant feels good mentally and has spent time this week trying to learn from his mistakes, he said.
"I realized I have a lot of kids who look up to me, even probably some adults," he said. " I realized my past mistakes isn't being a good role model. Got to be better in that area and be more responsible, be smarter and make better decisions."
Morant, who met Wednesday with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, told ESPN they had an "open discussion," adding he appreciated their conversation.
The 23-year-old'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."
Earlier this month, the police department in Glendale, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, said the agency would not recommend charges against Morant.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of games Ja Morant has missed.
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