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The Memphis Grizzlies said Saturday that their star guard Ja Morant would be away from the team for at least two games, just hours after the N.B.A. said it would investigate a social media post that appeared to show Morant holding a gun.
The Grizzlies did not immediately respond to questions about the social media post, the reason for Morant’s absence and whether he had been suspended. Several people posted video clips on social media on Saturday that appeared to show Morant in a live video on his Instagram account holding a gun and smiling in a nightclub. No live videos matching the clips circulating on social media were on Morant’s verified Instagram account mid-Saturday morning. By the afternoon, Morant’s Instagram and Twitter accounts had been deactivated.
In a statement, Morant, 23, said he took “full responsibility for my actions last night,” without being specific about what he was referring to, and he apologized for letting people 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,” Morant said in the statement, which was posted on Twitter by Tandem, the agency that represents him.
On Friday night, the Grizzlies lost a road game against the Denver Nuggets. According to the N.B.A.’s collective bargaining agreement, players are barred from having firearms at team facilities or when traveling on league business.
Morant is already one of the best guards in the N.B.A. in his fourth season. He has made the All-Star team the last two seasons and has helped revitalize the Grizzlies since he won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2020. He recently debuted his first signature shoe with Nike and his jersey is one of the top-sellers in the N.B.A. On Wednesday, the sports drink Powerade announced a partnership with him.
But that same day, The Washington Post reported that Morant had been involved in two incidents over the summer that were reported to the police. The Post said it had obtained a sealed police report in which Morant was accused of punching a teenage boy during a pickup game but said it was in self-defense. In the other incident, Morant was accused of threatening a mall security guard. Neither case resulted in criminal charges, though the teen’s mother has filed a lawsuit.
Morant will at least miss the Grizzlies’ road games against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. Memphis is the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, at 38-24.