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Ja Morant hits game-winning buzzer-beater on return from 25-game suspension

 

 

 

NBA suspends Memphis Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant for 25 games without pay for ‘conduct detrimental to the league’

 

 

 

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended for 25 games without pay by the NBA for “conduct detrimental to the league,” the NBA announced Friday.

In May, Morant was suspended from team activities after an Instagram Live video appearing to show him flashing a gun while in a vehicle with others circulated on social media, just two months after he was suspended over a similar video.

The NBA had suspended Morant for eight games without pay in March after he was seen in another Instagram Live video holding a gun at a nightclub in Glendale, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.

“I’ve had time to reflect and I realize how much hurt I’ve caused,” Morant said Friday in a statement. “I want to apologize to the NBA, the Grizzlies, my teammates and the city of Memphis. To (NBA Commissioner) Adam Silver, (Grizzlies General Manager) Zach Kleiman and (team owner) Robert Pera – who gave me the opportunity to be a professional athlete and have supported me – I’m sorry for the harm I’ve done.

“To the kids who look up to me, I’m sorry for failing you as a role model. I promise I’m going to be better. To all of my sponsors, I’m going to be a better representation of our brands. And to all of my fans, I’m going to make it up to you, I promise.

“I’m spending the offseason and my suspension continuing to work on my own mental health and decision making. I’m also going to be training so that I’m ready to go when I can be back on the court. I know my teammates are going to hold it down and I’m so sorry I won’t be out there with you at the beginning of the season.

“I hope you’ll give me the chance to prove to you over time I’m a better man than what I’ve been showing you.”

Morant’s unpaid suspension runs through the first 25 games of the 2023-24 regular season, the league said. He will not be allowed to take part in any “public” team activities, including preseason games, until the suspension is lifted.

“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,” Silver said in a statement. “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.

“For Ja, basketball needs to take a back seat at this time. Prior to his return to play, he will be required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior.”

The Grizzlies “respect the League’s decision to suspend Ja Morant following this latest episode,” the team said in a statement.

“Our standards as a league and team are clear, and we expect that all team personnel will adhere to them,” it added.

Earlier this month, Silver said what was important was not the amount of games Morant was suspended for but rather changing his life path.

“There is an acceptance that we need to find ways to engage with each other going forward so that he can change the trajectory that he’s now on, which is not a positive one,” Silver told the Dan Patrick Show.

Nike said it is standing by Morant.

“We are pleased that Ja is taking accountability and prioritizing his well-being. We will continue to support him on and off the court,” the company said.

 

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