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FutureStarrNBA Commissioner Delays Decision on Ja Morant Investigation Due to Finals
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Thursday that any punishment for Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant for showing a gun on social media will likely be postponed until after the finals, as an investigation into Davonte Pack's latest video remains incomplete. Two-time All-Star, Victor Martinez was already suspended eight games for showing a gun while under the influence, which ultimately resulted in him checking into a rehabilitation facility. What Happened? The National Basketball Association will make public the results of its investigation into Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant's latest handgun video and any punishment that might follow "shortly after" the finals between Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat come to a conclusion, Commissioner Adam Silver announced Thursday. To do otherwise would be unfair to teams competing for championship glory. Morant made headlines this season after allegations he punched a teenage during a pickup basketball game at his home last summer. On Saturday morning, Morant could be seen holding a black handgun while riding in a vehicle with several of his friends and Davonte Pack (Grizzlies teammate). Pack shared the video on Instagram. Recently, the NBA investigated another incident involving Morant after an Instagram Live video surfaced that appeared to show him flashing a gun. They have determined that no one was threatened with firearms and there was no violation of player conduct code by him. In January, The Athletic reported that associates of Morant had approached members of Indiana Pacers' traveling party at FedExForum following a game between Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers at FedExForum before using red laser to target them from their vehicle. No violations were found or filed with law enforcement; however, Morant has been suspended from all team activities pending investigation by NBA. On Monday, The Washington Post detailed two additional incidents surrounding Morant that the league is investigating. One involved his mother getting into an altercation at a Finish Line store before calling her son into it to join her and shout at a customer; while in another incident Morant's group repeatedly heckled and threatened a security guard during his break at a mall. The NBA determined that Morant's initial eight-game suspension for posting his IG Live video in May wasn't strong enough of a message; thus, for his subsequent actions there are concerns among some members that such serious matters aren't taken as seriously as should be. Morant’s First Incident Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies has made headlines for all the wrong reasons during this NBA season, which draws to an end on April 24. Morant, considered one of the future faces in his age bracket, has been involved in various off-court incidents which have undermined his reputation - most recently an incident related to an apparent flashing gun incident at a nightclub a video which emerged online showed. As soon as Morant was suspended after watching the video surfaced, they issued an immediate apology statement and claimed they are continuing their investigation into his conduct. Additionally, their statement claimed they take allegations of inappropriate behavior seriously and will review and decide upon an appropriate resolution of his situation. Morant posted another Instagram Live video Sunday which depicted him brandishing a gun and flashing it once again, prompting the Grizzlies to suspend him immediately from team activities until they review by the NBA. TMZ was the first to report that the NBA is investigating yet another potential incident involving Morant, as he can be seen sitting in his car listening to rapper NBA YoungBoy while briefly holding what appears to be a gun before quickly turning away and shifting away. No time or location were specified when this video was shot. Adam Silver addressed the Morant issue during a press conference prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals between Denver and Miami. He mentioned obtaining additional information, which will be taken into consideration before making a decision; it would not be fair, however, for that decision to become public while the series remains underway. Morant has taken his off-court issues seriously and made numerous apologies. Additionally, he acknowledged how they caused distraction among teammates on the Grizzlies that led them into defeat against Lakers in first round playoff series. Morant’s Second Incident After Ja Morant was seen waving a gun around in a Denver nightclub via social media video, the NBA initiated another investigation into his off-court behavior and is set to announce its findings and possible punishment post-Finals, according to Commissioner Adam Silver. Morant's latest incident involves an Instagram Live video shared by Davonte Pack that appeared to show him flashing a gun while driving in a vehicle. Following this post-live clip being uploaded onto Pack's account, his team suspended him immediately, with Pack subsequently issuing a statement that stated, he and his friend were listening to music when the camera started rolling; no gun was displayed or pointed at anyone during this video recording." Morant has long been accused of engaging in questionable off-court behavior, most recently being sued by a high school basketball prospect who accused him of punching them during a pickup game at their Memphis area home and threatening to kill them. Morant filed a countersuit accusing the teenager of slander and battery. Silver was asked about Morant's second handgun video this week prior to Game 1 between the Nuggets and Heat in Denver, and did not seem optimistic that he will regain his job next season. He told reporters that their investigation into it had "essentially concluded", with both they and league office taking into consideration his past history as well as severity of situation when determining punishment for Morant. The NBA will make their decision regarding any potential punishment against Morant after the Finals are complete and their winner has been decided upon, Silver said that making any announcement now would serve only to distract from them and be unfair to both teams competing for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Morant’s Potential Punishment The NBA has yet to declare how it will punish Morant for his latest off-court transgression, but most believe the punishment will be severe. On Thursday morning, Commercial Appeal's Grizzlies Roundtable with Damichael Cole and sports columnist Mark Giannotto reconvened and discussed Morant's misdeeds in more depth. Morant appeared to flash a gun while broadcasting his Instagram Live video on Saturday, prompting the Memphis Grizzlies to immediately suspend him from all team activities until further notice. This marks two instances within one month in which Morant has been involved in shooting-related social media videos; previously on March 3, his video showing him holding a weapon went viral and led to an eight game suspension by them. On Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did not address Morant's specific punishment but did acknowledge that the league has unearthed "a fair amount of additional information" which will inform their decision. Silver said he may wait to release their findings until after the Finals as doing it prior could distract from Denver vs Miami matchup. Silver seems to suggest in his statement that an eight-game suspension sent the right message to Morant, yet that could be dangerously misleading. At 23, Morant should know how to handle himself both on and off the court; moreover, as part of a franchise which invests heavily in him being successful; agents, lawyers and advisers exist specifically to make sure he remains on course. Morant should utilize his support system as a reminder of just how serious his situation is and take more responsible actions moving forward. While this may not help him avoid suspension for too long, Morant must still learn from this lesson and demonstrate he can be a model player both on and off the court.