Ja Morant hasn’t seen an NBA court since firing a gun into a club on Instagram Live and he will be out for at least three more games after being handed an eight-game suspension by the NBA.
The Memphis Grizzlies All-Star has spent that time in exile, seeking counseling after a string of troubling incidents last year. Morant reportedly dropped out of counseling on Wednesday, and it wasn’t long until he An interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose broadcast to explain what is happening.
In his first public appearance since leaving Memphis, Morant said the gun at the center of the Denver club incident was not his, but reiterated that he took “full responsibility” for his actions:
“The gun was not mine. It is not me, I do not condone violence of any kind, but I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a huge mistake and I can see the image I created myself painted on.” My past mistakes, but in the future, I’m going to show everyone who Ja really is, what I am and change this narrative.”
Morant also broke down the type of therapy he was undergoing, with the Grizzlies and the NBA hoping to prevent future incidents:
“Me, personally, I feel better mentally that I haven’t been in many years. I am in a place where I am very comfortable. I was constantly talking to therapists. I am doing reiki treatments I have been having trouble breathing, there are different things to help me manage it and get all that stuff out of my body.
“I made a terrible mistake inside a club and went live. I put myself and my daughter in a bad position too. Many times she would tell me if she was having a bad day. I thought if she could tell me that, then I might even be able to go and talk to somebody.
As it currently stands, Morant is eligible to return on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks. He was initially suspended two games by the Grizzlies, who later stated that he would miss at least the next four games. The NBA opted to count the five games Morant has missed so far in his suspension, which is without pay.
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The club incident was one of at least four incidents Morant was involved in over the past year. The first sign of trouble came in February, when a January incident was reported involving his crew and Indiana Pacers staff. The run-in reportedly ended when employees claimed that someone in Morant’s SUV aimed a red laser after a Grizzlies game, which was believed to be a gun by a security guard.
A month later, Morant allegedly assaulted a teen and threatened her with a gun during a pick-up game at his home last summer and, in a separate incident, allegedly assaulted the head of security at a Memphis mall. threatened.
No criminal charges have been brought against Morant for either incident, but they have damaged the reputation of a player considered to be the future face of the NBA. The Grizzlies have already passed on Morant as their franchise player, signing him to a five-year, $231 million contract last season.
The good news for Morant is that this suspension provides a clear opportunity for a turning point in his career, and he has said what everyone wants to hear so far. Whether his actions change or not will depend on Morant.