Ja Morant suspended eight games by NBA after strip-club gun video
Ja Morant has been disciplined by the NBA, but he is inching closer to a return to the court.
The NBA announced Wednesday that the Grizzlies star is suspended eight games for “holding a firearm in an intoxicated state while visiting a Denver area nightclub.”
Morant, 23, has been away from the team since March 4, when he went on Instagram Live and posted a video of himself brandishing a gun at a Denver-area strip club.
The suspension covers the five games Morant has already missed, so he is eligible to return on Monday against the Mavericks.
However, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters Wednesday that Morant is unlikely to play against Dallas after a two-week layoff.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him.
“He has expressed sincere remorse for his behavior. 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.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier Wednesday that Morant has left the counseling program that he was attending in Florida and met with Silver on Wednesday.
Morant’s ill-timed strip club video marked the latest in a series of events in which he was investigated by police but not charged.
Altogether, there was a confrontation with a mall security guard, an altercation with a high school basketball prospect in a pickup game at Morant’s Memphis-area home where both sides accused the other of threatening further violence, and another confrontation with an adversary of his younger sister’s at a high school volleyball game.
Morant was also the subject of an NBA investigation after members of the Pacers accused his associates of pointing a red laser at them following a confrontation.
The NBA said at the conclusion of that investigation that it could not “corroborate” that guns were involved in the incident.
The timetable of the NBA’s current investigation into Morant is unclear.
Wojnarowski had reported Monday that Morant was at the counseling program, but it was not specified when he entered it.
This past weekend, The Post obtained exclusive photos of the two-night extravaganza at the establishment in which Morant was said to have dropped about $50,000 in cash.
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“I take full responsibility for my actions last night,” Morant said in a statement after the strip club video was going viral on social media. “I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down.”
The Grizzlies are in a tight race with the Kings for second place in the Western Conference, with Memphis currently leading by one game with a record of 41-26 and 15 games remaining in the regular season for both teams.