NBA commissioner Adam Silver has taken a hard line with Ja Morant as he weighs another gun-related suspension for the Grizzlies star – but that doesn’t mean he’s unable to come up with a solution. humor in the situation.
Silver prepares to announce the upcoming penalty for Morant for the second incident with a firearm shortly after the conclusion of the current NBA Finals. He suspended Morant for eight games in March after the Grizzlies star held a gun at a suburban Denver nightclub while going live on Instagram. Another live stream in May, this time while sharing the front seat of a car with one of his friends, saw Morant displaying a gun again.
The 61-year-old commissioner poked fun at Morant on Thursday as he was interviewed by Dan Patrick. The former SportsCenter presenter joked about actor Adam Sandler’s penchant for touching or “carrying” the basketball when he plays – a violation of the game’s most basic rules – and suggested making an announcement. public interest.
“I’m going to ask Sandler to do a PSA for the NBA on an anti-carry program,” Patrick said.
“By the way, it can have a double meaning,” Silver joked.
Adam Silver (right) poked fun at Morant on Thursday as he was interviewed by Dan Patrick (left)
Ja Morant brandished a gun on IG Live in early May – her second instance this year
‘Anti-carrying Ja Morant? Absolutely, says Patrick. “I got it commissioner.”
The fact that Morant hasn’t been charged with a felony for twice posting a gun on social media won’t stop Silver from punishing the Grizzlies guard, the commissioner said last week.
‘Waving them around, displaying them in a certain context, is not consistent with gun safety and is not the right message an NBA player, especially one at the Ja level, should be sending to the tens of millions of followers he has – and especially when it’s an incident again, where he’s been livestreamed on social media,’ Silver said. “So yeah, I think given the similarity of this incident to the first one, I was alarmed, I was discouraged.”
Colorado police reviewed the March incident and did not press charges. Nor has Morant been charged with doing anything illegal related to the May incident.
But the collective agreement between the league and its players also states that players agree “to do nothing that is materially harmful or materially prejudicial to the best interests” of their team or the NBA. That’s why Morant’s eight-game suspension in March was for conduct harmful to the league, and it’s reasonable to assume that will be part of the penalties Morant will face this time around.
“When we have a standard of detrimental conduct, at the end of the day, it’s a standard based on what we consider to be the values of this league and our expectations of our players in terms of the image that we represent to our fans,” Silver says. “So it’s not a legal standard. It is a private organization standard.
Silver announced before Game 1 of the Finals that the league and the National Basketball Players Association agree that Morant’s final penalty should not be called during the current series.
Morant has been suspended by the Grizzlies indefinitely, and with the team obviously out until camp this fall, there’s no rush for the NBA to announce its decision.
Silver also insisted that his decision will not be political, even at a time when the topic of gun control seems only to widen the political divide across the country.
There have been 557 mass killings in the United States since 2006 and at least 2,896 people have died, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. These include murders where four or more people died, not including the attacker, in a 24-hour period. So far in 2023, the nation has seen the highest number of mass killings and deaths ever recorded so far in a single year.
“To me, it’s a gun safety issue,” Silver said.
This is the third known NBA investigation involving Morant and possible firearms involvement so far in 2023.
Morant, 23, found himself in trouble after showing a gun at a nightclub on social media in Denver following a Grizzlies win over the Nuggets
Morant’s actions have been investigated after a Jan. 29 incident in Memphis that he says led Davonte Pack – someone Morant calls “my brother” and the person who live-streamed the May incident – banned from Grizzlies home games for a year.
This incident followed a game against the Indiana Pacers; citing unnamed sources, The Indianapolis Star and USA Today reported that several Pacers members saw a red dot pointed at them while near the loading dock where their bus was, and The Athletic reported that a Pacers security guard believed the laser was attached to a gun.
The NBA confirmed people it did not identify were banned from the arena, but said its investigation into the January event found no evidence that anyone was threatened with a weapon.
Morant and Pack are also involved in a civil lawsuit filed after an incident at Morant’s home last summer in which a 17-year-old alleged they assaulted him. Morant filed a countersuit on April 12, accusing the teenager of defamation, assault and battery.