The lack of charges will not protect Ja Morant from penalties

DENVER (AP) — The non-charge of Memphis guard Ja Morant for pointing a gun twice on social media will not stop the NBA from exercising more discipline, Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday.

Silver is preparing to announce the penalty Morant is facing for the second gun incident shortly after the NBA Finals ended. He suspended Morant for eight games in March after the Grizzlies star held a gun at a nightclub in suburban Denver while live-streaming himself on Instagram. In another livestream in May, this time while sharing the front seat of a car with one of his friends, Morant again displayed a gun.

“Waving them around, putting them in a specific context is not consistent with gun safety and is not the right message that an NBA player, especially one of Ja’s level, should be sending to the tens of millions of followers he has — and especially when it comes to another incident broadcast live on social media,” said Silver. “So yes, I think given the resemblance of this incident to the first I was concerned, I was discouraged.”

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on February 23, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Colorado police investigated the incident in March and have not filed any charges. Nor has Morant been accused of doing anything illegal in connection with the May incident.

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However, the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players also states that players agree “not to do anything that will materially harm or significantly affect the interests of their team or the NBA.” As a result, Morant was banned for eight games in March on charges of league-damaging behavior and it’s safe to assume that will be part of the sanction Morant faces this time around.

“If we have a standard for harmful behavior, it’s ultimately based on what we consider to be the values ​​of this league and what we expect from our players in terms of the image we project to our fans. ‘ Silver said. “So it’s not a legal standard. It is a standard of private organizations.”

Silver announced Thursday that the league and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed that Morant’s recent penalty should not be announced during the finals. Morant has been suspended indefinitely by the Grizzlies, and with the team apparently on hold until fall training camp, there’s no urgency for the NBA to announce their decision.

Silver also stressed that his decision will not be political, even at a time when the gun control issue only seems to be widening political divides across the country.

According to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in conjunction with Northeastern University, there have been 557 mass killings in the United States since 2006 and at least 2,896 people have died. This includes killings in which four or more people died within 24 hours, not counting the attacker. So far, in 2023, the country has seen the highest number of mass killings and deaths in a single year.

“To me, it’s a gun safety issue,” Silver said.

This is the third known NBA investigation related to Morant and possible firearms involvement in 2023.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to reporters before Game 1 of the NBA Basketball Finals between the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat on Thursday, June 1, 2023 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Morant’s actions were being investigated following an incident on Jan. 29 in Memphis, which he said resulted in Vomte Pack – someone Morant calls “my brother” and who live-streamed the incident in May – being suspended from the for a year Grizzlies home games have been banned.

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This incident followed a game against the Indiana Pacers; Citing unnamed sources, The Indianapolis Star and USA Today reported that several members of the Pacers saw a red dot aimed at them while near the loading dock where their bus was located, and The Athletic reported that a Pacers security officer suspected the laser was attached to a weapon.

The NBA confirmed that people unidentified by it were banned from the arena, but said its January investigation into the incident found no evidence that anyone had been threatened with a gun.

Morant and Pack are also involved in a civil lawsuit brought after an incident at Morant’s home last summer in which a then 17-year-old claimed they assaulted him. Morant filed a countersuit on April 12, alleging defamation, assault and assault on the teenager.

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