On Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed down a 24-game suspension to Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor, after Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic assault. But it doesn’t seem as though that will be the end of the matter. National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts released a strong statement against Silver’s punishment on Thursday, promising that the players’ union is ready to appeal it if Taylor asks them to.
Here is the full statement:
New York, NY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014 — The 24-game suspension imposed by Commissioner Silver against Jeff Taylor is excessive, without precedent and a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”). The CBA contemplates a minimum 10 game suspension in any case involving a conviction for a violent felony, including domestic violence. In contrast, Jeff Taylor was charged with a misdemeanor that is likely to be dismissed at the end of a probationary period. The 24-game suspension is one of the longest in the history of the league. We have a scheme of discipline that was the result of collective bargaining between the parties that has been applied consistently over the years. While we appreciate the sensitivity of this societal issue, the Commissioner is not entitled to rewrite the rules or otherwise ignore precedent in disciplinary matters. While ultimately this is Jeff’s decision, we stand ready to file an immediate appeal on his behalf.
The union’s stance comes as no surprise. Roberts’ job is to advocate for the players, no matter how egregious their actions. Silver’s harsh suspension for Taylor comes in the wake of widespread criticism the NFL has taken for their handling of the recent Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases, and Silver wants to set himself and the NBA apart as being tough on issues of domestic abuse.
This is going to be an ugly battle that won’t be over anytime soon.