There is never a good time to get arrested on a charge of domestic assault. But Jeff Taylor might have picked the absolute worst.
Taylor was arrested Thursday morning at a Marriott hotel in Michigan. The Charlotte Hornet forward was arraigned in East Lansing District Court and charged with one count of domestic assault, one count of assault and one count of malicious destruction of property. He was released from jail on a $5,000 bond.
There isn’t much more detail than that as of yet, but there’s no doubt Taylor is in trouble. The NFL just showed everyone exactly how not to handle a domestic violence case with Ray Rice, and the fallout from that “punch in the elevator” video has reverberated nationwide.
The Panthers let defensive end Greg Hardy play in Week 1, but then the video of Rice punching his fiance surfaced and everything changed. Hardy, embroiled in his own case, is going to miss at least 10 games this season (and get paid $770,000 a week anyway).
Now the NBA and the Hornets get to try and avoid the mistakes of the NFL, and the best way the league can do that is to make sure it punishes violators severely.
It is important to note that Taylor has not been convicted of anything. He is innocent until proven guilty. It would also be naive to think that the cases of Rice and Hardy won’t play a role in how Taylor’s own case is perceived in America.
The Hornets issued a three-sentence statement about Taylor’s arrest Thursday evening, and the third sentence was the one that really counted. “This is a matter that we take very seriously,” it said.
They had better. Taylor is a backup forward on a small-market NBA team, so this sort of case normally wouldn’t attract much nationwide notice. You can debate whether that’s the way it should be all you like, but it’s the truth.
This time, though, it will get a lot of attention, and the Hornets will be under pressure not to repeat the mistakes of the Panthers and the NFL.
Taylor was mostly known as an injury-prone leaper, defender and 3-point shooter for the Hornets. Now he has made headlines for something else. And there’s no way it’s going away quickly.