The athlete spoke out about the incident that landed him in hot water with the NBA.
In a clip from Morant’s first interview with ESPN since his suspension, the basketball star acknowledges his mistake and insists he strives to seek help.
“It’s not who I am. I don’t condone any type of violence, but I take full responsibility for my actions,” Morant told sports analyst Jalen Rose in the exclusive clip. “I made a bad mistake. I can see that the image I painted of myself with my recent mistakes, but in the future, I’ma show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about, and change this narrative.”
Morant also shared that the gun he flashed in the video did not belong to him.
He apologized to the public for his actions previously.
Hours after his suspension was made official, the athlete released a statement, saying he would use the time away from playing to “get help” and find ways to manage his stress and “overall well-being.”
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night,” his statement read, according to Complex. “I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you 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.”
Although the league initially suspended Morant for two games, the NBA recently announced an eight-game suspension without pay.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him.”
Morant will be able to return to the court on March 20, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski believes the two-time All-Star will likely take additional time to get back into playing shape.
Morant hadn't been playing basketball while at a counseling center in Florida, so his ramp up is expected to extend past Monday's game vs. Dallas when he's first eligible to return, sources tell ESPN. It's expected that he'll return to play shortly thereafter.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2023
Despite Morant’s actions, the Memphis Grizzlies continue to stand by him.
According to a statement released by coach Taylor Jenkins, he and the team support Morant even though the situation is “very tough.”
“He’s definitely embracing the mistakes that he’s made, but only time will tell,” Jenkins said, according to Complex. “We’re going to support him and we’re going to hold him accountable to make those changes. … We love him, we want what’s best for him, we support him. It’s going to be a difficult process but we’ve got a great group to get through this.”