Ja Morant issues statement as NBA investigates him for handling firearm inside Colorado strip club
Ja Morant will take a leave of absence from the NBA and Memphis Grizzlies after he appeared to be handling a firearm at a Colorado strip club following his team's loss to the Denver Nuggets Friday night.
Morant issued a statement apologizing for his actions on Saturday and will not play for at least the next two games.
CBS News Colorado confirmed the Grizzlies stayed in Denver after the nationally televised game against the first-place Nuggets. The game was noteworthy as the second-place Grizzlies try and close the gap between the two teams.
The Grizzlies confirmed they are aware of the incident and are investigating it.
In the video, which Morant posted on his Instagram account in the early hours of Saturday morning, the NBA star is seen dancing in a dark room with other men and women. Morant is heard singing along to the song playing.
He is then seen briefly holding up what appears to be a real firearm as he continues to sing and dance.
After CBS News Colorado broke the news that Morant's team stayed in Denver for the night, many started speculating where the incident took place.
Some on social media pointed out that the room looked very similar to a room featured in advertisements for a strip club located on the edge of Denver near Cherry Creek.
It isn't clear who owned the firearm or if it was Morant's or owned by someone else.
CBS News Colorado contacted a long-standing airline charter partner of the NBA seeking comment on their policies when it comes to firearms on charter flights.
The airline deferred most questions to the NBA. However, they confirmed that any passenger on a chartered flight still goes through TSA screenings and rules.
TSA requires all firearms to be declared upon check-in, and they must be unloaded and secured in a locked case under the aircraft in checked luggage. If the TSA rules are followed, a passenger on a chartered flight could transport a firearm on the airplane.
In Colorado, it is illegal to possess a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
While it isn't clear if Morant had consumed alcohol or any other substance while at the club, women in the video can be seen drinking from open alcohol bottles around him as he brandished the firearm.
Morant, who has recently made headlines for other accusations of violence in public places, will not play in the Grizzlies' next game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Nor will Dillon Brooks who was also suspended for one game after the loss to the Nuggets due to excessive technical fouls during games, and NBA rules.
Morant apologized to the public for his actions and said he was taking time to find better ways to deal with stress, saying:
"I take full responsibility for my actions last night. 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."