NBA commissioner Adam Silver reiterated that the league is waiting until the NBA Finals are over to announce its punishment for Grizzlies star Ja Morant after he appeared to once again brandish a gun on social media last month. Silver also said the NBA is investigating whether the gun Morant waved on an Instagram video was real or not.
“I’m aware, of course, of these reports on social media about whether the gun was in fact a gun,” Silver said during an appearance on the “Dan Patrick Show.” Here’s what you need to know:
- A Monday report from “The Breakfast Club” show said Morant may have been holding a toy gun instead of a real weapon. The validity of such a report has not been determined, and was even disputed while on air by the show, but has reached Silver’s desk and is significant enough for him to bring them up publicly.
- Silver was inconclusive as to whether it would make a difference if the gun was real or not. He said that either way he was “incredibly disappointed” to see that Morant was “live streaming a gun, certainly looks like a gun — a Glock — in a kind of reckless manner.”
- Silver said every piece of information the league finds will be considered relevant.
- Silver said before Game 1 of the Finals that the league had “uncovered a fair amount of additional information” in its investigation of Morant.
What kind of punishment is the NBA weighing?
Silver wouldn’t get into details about the length of the suspension it may impose upon Morant during the interview, but he did say that he doesn’t want to just suspend him. Silver wants to create some kind of situation where it could also help Morant prevent another incident.
“It’s important to point out that this is not about just discipline, and then we’ll just cross our fingers and then hope there’s not a third time,” Silver said. “I recognize that he needs some assistance you know, from the league office, his union, his team. No doubt he’s a remarkable player, and I think he’s a very engaging young man. It’s one of the reasons he has this enormous following on social media, but it’s a two-edged sword, and he has to own that and take responsibility for it. And my hope is that wherever we come out in terms of discipline, that there’s an acceptance that we need to find ways to engage with each other going forward so he can change the trajectory he’s now on, which is not a positive one.”
What Silver was particularly troubled by
The NBA commissioner said the issue for Morant in the first incident “was treating a gun as a toy” and later called it a danger to society for him to hold it during a livestream.
“Without getting into gun issues in terms of the propriety of owning guns and the use of guns, I think everyone agrees that gun safety is critically important and that guns aren’t toys,” Silver said. “So it’s something that I’m thinking a lot about, because, again, I’m not going to get into the specifics of the investigation but in fact, if you are live streaming something that to the world looks exactly like a gun, and in a frankly, reckless manner, should it matter whether or not it’s a real gun?”
Silver’s disappointment with Morant’s second incident
Silver confirmed that he was disappointed by the revelation of a second video involving Morant and a gun. Silver said his sense from their meeting after the first incident was that Morant was “very sincere in how contrite he was” and how seriously he took the issue.
What else Silver said
On being worried about Morant’s time away from basketball this summer, Silver said he is looking to come up with a program to help Morant grow “as a young man,” rather than just keep him away from basketball.
“I mean, it’s the offseason, but he’s suspended from team activities and I want to find a way where, frankly, he’s not being kicked to the curb, but basketball will take a backseat. And first and foremost we’re gonna focus on him as a young man developing as a better person, as someone who’s more responsible. Particularly when it comes to guns. I mean, this is a really serious issue,” Silver said.
(Photo: Jennifer Pottheiser / NBAE via Getty Images)