Grizzlies’ player Morant was seen displaying a gun at a nightclub on his Instagram live account.
NBA team Memphis Grizzlies, from the US state of Tennessee, has suspended Ja Morant for at least the next two games after he was seen displaying what appeared to be a gun at a nightclub on his Instagram live.
An NBA spokesman said the league was aware of the post and was investigating. Morant apologised later on Saturday, adding that he planned to take some “time away”.
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night. I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down,” he said in a statement.
“I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall wellbeing.”
The 23-year-old All Star player was the subject of a Washington Post article this week that said he had been accused in police reports of punching a teenager repeatedly.
In interviews with police, the teen said that after their altercation, Morant went into his house and “re-emerged with a gun visible in the waistband of his pants”.
Morant told police he “swung first” but felt he was acting in self-defence after the teenager threw a basketball that hit him in the head, later making a comment that Morant found threatening.
In police records, the unnamed teen accused Morant of punching him “12-13 times”. Morant also allegedly made threats against the head of security at a Memphis mall, which led to the filing of a police report, the paper said.
Morant is averaging 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 53 games this season for the Grizzlies, who are currently in second in the Western Conference.
The suspension means he will miss Sunday’s game against the Clippers and Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.
Guns in the US
Gun violence is a huge problem in the US, which saw 647 mass shootings last year, with at least four people shot or killed by a shooter, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
In 2020, firearms surpassed motor vehicle accidents to become the leading cause of death among children and teens in the country, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 44,000 people died from gunshot wounds in 2022 across the US, more than half of which were suicides.