Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant will be away from the team for at least the next two games, the Grizzlies announced on Saturday. The decision came shortly after it was revealed that the NBA is investigating a post that was circulating on social media on Saturday in which Morant is seen appearing to brandish a gun at a club.
Prior to their matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said that there is “not a definitive timeline” for Morant’s return, reiterating that his All-Star point guard will be out for a minimum of two games.
“The focus right now is that Ja’s taken on the responsibility to really get the help he needs to get into a better place, generally speaking, but also on the flip side, to be in a better place to embrace the responsibilities and expectations as a member of this team,” Jenkins said. “That’s what we’re dialoguing about. That’s what we’re going to support him through. We’re also going to hold him accountable, too.”
The NBA is also looking into Morant’s social media post, according to a statement issued on Saturday.
Morant released a statement of his own, and it read as follows:
“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. I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
Following Morant’s statement and the announcement that he’ll be away from the team for the next two games, Nike, which the Grizzlies star has a signature shoe deal with, released the following statement:
“We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
The situation comes on the heels of what has been a rough start to the year for Morant. Earlier this week, the star guard was accused ofat a Memphis mall last summer, per a police report. The altercation started after Morant’s mother had a dispute with an employee at a Finish Line store within the mall, which led her to call her son.
Upon arrival, Morant and those who came with him were told to leave by the head of security, and they refused, prompting police to arrive. A “verbal confrontation” transpired and then a member of Morant’s group pushed the security guard in the head. According to the police report, Morant then said “let me find out what time he gets off,” which made the guard want to file a report as he felt “threatened” by Morant’s statement. No arrests were made in the incident.
Four days after that incident at the mall, Morant was then accused of punching a 17-year-old boy and brandishing a gun during a pickup basketball game at his home in Memphis. The teenager’s mom filed a police report the day of the incident and took her son to the hospital the following day.
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In January, the NBA investigated a separate incident involving acquaintances of Morant. After a game between the Grizzlies and Pacers, members of Indiana’s traveling party told The Athletic that someone in an SUV that Morant was traveling in shined a red laser at them. They believed it was a gun, but the NBA said it could “not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon.”
Morant, 23, was named to his second All-Star team in February, and is averaging 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and six rebounds per game.