The Memphis Grizzlies have suspended Ja Morant after the all-star guard was seen brandishing what appeared to be a gun in a live Instagram video. It’s the second incident of its kind in just over two months for Morant, who was banned for eight games in March after he was spotted in another Instagram Live video displaying a gun at a Colorado strip club.
Morant is currently suspended from all team activities by the Grizzlies while the NBA says it is in the process of gathering more information about the recent incident. According to ESPN, Morant could face an extended suspension from the league at the start of the 2023-24 NBA season.
Both Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless shared their thoughts on Morant and his supporters on Monday’s episode of Undisputed.
“I’ve said before that the best excuse is a change in behavior,” Sharpe said. “As he went through all this diatribe about what he’d learned about being away from the game and how important it was to him, I said, ‘I see better than I hear.’ I heard everything saying yes and said, “Now I’ll see if the behavior is consistent with what he said.”
“At this point, I’m not even mad at Ja. I’m not angry, I’m not disappointed, I’m not embarrassed.” [for him]. I’m angry, I’m upset, I’m disappointed, I’m disgusted with the people who defended him. Because that is what brought us here.”
Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant after another alleged gun violence incident
Sharpe also pointed out how much money Morant had already lost through his actions. The point guard wasn’t selected for any All-NBA team last season, despite leading the Grizzlies to No. 2 in the Western Conference, potentially costing him as much as $39 million in maximum contract money. He could also continue to lose money if brands like Nike and Powerade ditch their endorsement deals with him.
“I want all the people who said, ‘Let it be yes,’ will be the treasurer of this GoFundMe account? Because he just lost $39 million,” Sharpe said.
Bayless focused on detailing the various reported incidents related to Morant that led to his initial suspension. Some of these included his friend Devontae Pack, whose Instagram Live featured the latest video of Morant allegedly holding a gun.
The most notable of these incidents occurred during and after a January 29 game in Memphis between the Grizzlies and the Indiana Pacers.
Pack was thrown from his courtside seat after running onto the field to yell at Pacers players during the game. Several Morant employees spoke after the game, including Pack He was reportedly waiting at the Pacers team bus to confront the visiting team, and after they got back into their cars, a laser was aimed at Indiana team members, which some believed was from a gun. An NBA investigation found no evidence a gun was present, but Pack was banned from the Grizzlies’ arena for a year for his actions.
Both Morant and Pack have vehemently denied reports of the incident after the game with the Pacers.
“I kept trying to love this boy because I really love him as a basketball player. Who doesn’t?” Bayless said. “I had swept all previous little incidents under my little rug… [then] “Each small incident seemed to grow bigger in light of what happened that March night after the loss in Denver.”
It’s that context, Bayless said, that made the NBA’s initial 17-day, eight-game penalty on Morant seem too lenient in his eyes.
“When it suddenly came out that he was back, I was completely confused,” said Bayless. “Like we just got taken on the greatest ride ever.”
Morant and the Grizzlies lost to the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. After the series ended, Morant told reporters that he needed to improve his off-field decisions and that he was proud of the changes he’d made after his initial suspension.
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