Grizzlies’ player Morant was seen with a gun in 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 showed an apparent weapon on his Instagram live in a nightclub.
An NBA spokesman said the league was aware of the post and was investigating. Morant later apologized on Saturday, adding that he intended to take some “time away”.
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night. I am 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 out to get help and work on learning better methods of coping with stress and my overall well-being.”
The 23-year-old All Star player was the subject of an article in the Washington Post this week that said he was accused in police reports of repeatedly hitting a teenager.
In interviews with police, the teenager said Morant entered his home after their altercation and “emerged again with a gun visible in the waistband of his pants”.
Morant told police he “waved first” but felt he acted in self-defense after the teen threw a basketball that hit him in the head, later making a comment that Morant found threatening.
In police files, the unnamed teenager accused Morant of hitting him “12-13 times”. Morant also allegedly made threats to the chief of security at a Memphis mall, prompting a police report to be filed, the paper said.
Morant has averaged 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 53 games this season for the Grizzlies, who are currently second in the Western Conference.
The suspension will see him miss Sunday’s game against the Clippers and Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.
Weapons in the US
Gun violence is a huge problem in the US, which saw 647 mass shootings last year in which at least four people were shot or killed by a gunman, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
In 2020, firearms surpassed motor vehicle accidents and became the leading cause of death among children and teens in the country, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2022, more than 44,000 people died from gunshot wounds in the US, of which more than half were suicides.