Charlotte swingman Jeff Taylor has been away from the team since before training camp opened, sidelined by the organization following an arrest on domestic violence charges that took place in East Lansing, Michigan. Taylor has already pled guilty those charges, which were misdemeanors.
Considering that and the league’s own investigation, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handed down a 24-game suspension to Taylor on Wednesday. Taylor has already missed 11 games on paid leave, he will miss 13 more games but suffer the financial hit of missing 24 games, the league announced. (That works out to about $268,000.)
This is a much stiffer penalty for domestic violence than the league has handed out in the past, amounting to almost 30 percent of the season.
“This suspension is necessary to protect the interests of the NBA and the public’s confidence in it,” Silver said in a released statement explaining his decision. “Mr. Taylor’s conduct violates applicable law and, in my opinion, does not conform to standards of morality and is prejudicial and detrimental to the NBA. While the suspension is significantly longer than prior suspensions for incidents of domestic violence by NBA players, it is appropriate in light of Mr. Taylor’s conduct, the need to deter similar conduct going forward, and the evolving social consensus — with which we fully concur — that professional sports leagues like the NBA must respond to such incidents in a more rigorous way.
“Because education and training is just as important as the imposition of discipline, Mr. Taylor must also satisfactorily complete the terms of his sentence, including the domestic violence intervention program, alcohol counseling, and community service (which we recommend be directed toward efforts to help victims of domestic violence). ln addition, he will be required to attend individual counseling sessions with a counselor jointly selected by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.
The league also gave its description of what happened that night in East Lansing, based on its investigation.
Based on the NBA’s investigation, the following summary of facts is undisputed After a night of heavy drinking on September 24,2014, Mr. Taylor and the woman had an intense and high-volume argument that began in the hotel room where Mr. Taylor was staying, prompting hotel guests to call Marriott security. The argument escalated and resulted in Mr. Taylor shoving the woman in a violent manner into the hotel hallway so that she fell to the ground and struck her head on the opposite door, slapping her arm, and punching a hole in a wall near his hotel room. She had marks on her upper arm and a bump on her head but declined medical treatment.
In the wake of the NFL’s fumble of the Ray Rice domestic abuse situation, the NBA had to come down harder on Taylor than it had in the past (you know other leagues will follow suit). The NBA wants to make a statement to its fans and also to its players — domestic violence will not be glossed over by the league. At least anymore. More than that, this was just the right thing to do. The NBA has been too soft on domestic violence, drunk driving arrests and other crimes by players.
While there will be tougher tests to come for the league — ones where the player does not plead guilty — Silver again passed this test.