Ja Morant was suspended by the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday after he appeared to be holding a gun in another social media video that was streamed live on Instagram, the latest in a series of concerning incidents involving the two-time all-star guard.
It's the second time in less than three months that Morant was seen on Instagram holding what appeared to be a weapon. The first led to an eight-game NBA suspension that was handed down in March and cost Morant about US$669,000 in salary.
It's unclear what sanctions Morant may face for the second video, which was captured Saturday night and widely shared online. The video was streamed on the Instagram account of Morant associate Davonte Pack, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because neither the NBA nor the Grizzlies have commented on the specifics of the latest video.
"We are aware of the social media post involving Ja Morant and are in the process of gathering more information," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
The Grizzlies, whose season is over, said Morant is suspended from all team activities "pending league review".
The video streamed by Pack shows Morant in the passenger seat of a vehicle, briefly appearing to display a handgun. At the very brief moment — maybe less than a second — when Morant is shown holding what appears to be a weapon, the livestream had 111 viewers.
The video that got Morant suspended during the season happened when the Grizzlies star went live on his own Instagram account while holding a gun at a club in the Denver suburbs in early March. After that went viral, Morant announced that he was taking time away from basketball to seek help, without specifying what sort of treatment he was getting. ESPN later reported that he was getting counselling in Florida, which the team eventually confirmed but did not share any details.
"Ja's conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement after meeting with Morant and deciding on the suspension's length. "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 behaviour," Silver continued. "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."
Morant sat down for an interview with ESPN during his suspension, taking responsibility for the video.
"I don't condone any type of violence," Morant told ESPN. "But I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a bad mistake and I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes. But in the future, I'm going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I'm about and change this narrative."
When the season ended a couple weeks ago, Morant said again that he needed to work on his decision-making.
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