On Wednesday, Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, handed out a 24-game unpaid suspension to Charlotte Hornets small forward Jeffery Taylor for an incident in September for which Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault.
Last month a court sentenced Taylor to 18 months probation. The Hornets had already handed out an indefinite suspension of their own which forced the American and Swedish citizen to miss the first 11 games of the season, although it allowed Taylor to be paid. Silver’s suspension will include those games, meaning Taylor will miss the next 13 games, but he will not receive 24 game checks.
Apparently, Silver wants to make an example of Taylor with the 24-game suspension; the NBA collective bargaining agreement requires a minimum 10-game suspension for a felony conviction but Taylor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. In Silver’s memo dealing with the matter, he wrote, “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.”
Silver consulted with various domestic violence experts before making his decision, including Ted Bunch, co-founder of A Call To Men; Linda Fairstein, former chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; and Kalimah Johnson, founder of SASHA Center, a Detroit-based healing and awareness center focusing on sexual assault. He also spoke with an internal NBA group that included Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s executive vice president for Social Responsibility & Player Programs; Greg Taylor, the NBA’s senior vice president of Player Development; Chrysa Chin, the NBA’s vice president for Player Development; and Eric Hutcherson, the NBA’s senior vice president of Human Resources.
In the September 24, 2014 incident that prompted Taylor’s suspension, Taylor and a woman drank heavily, then began arguing in Taylor’s Marriott hotel room. The argument was boisterous enough that other hotel guests called security. As the argument grew more heated, Taylor slapped the woman’s arm and shoved her so hard into the hallway that she struck her head on the door across the hall from Taylor’s room. The woman later exhibited a bump on the head and marks on her arm. Taylor also punched a hole in the wall in the hallway.
After Taylor’s early-morning arrest, East Lansing cops actually arrested Taylor elsewhere in the city later that evening on a separate malicious destruction of property charge.
East Lansing police officers described Taylor in the initial arrest as contentious and uncooperative. Following Taylor’s arrest–the first one–the NBA immediately started an investigation. Their attorneys interviewed Taylor and the woman to retrieve data for the NBA to review.
Silver appears more severe in his response to violence attributed to NBA players than his predecessor, David Stern. Numerous players have been charged in domestic assault charges in recent years, and the NBA seemingly stood by without acting.
Taylor has played two years with the Hornets, averaging 21 minutes and seven points a game. He missed the last 56 games of the 2013-14 season after he ruptured his Achilles tendon.