Charlotte Hornets forward Jeff Taylor pleaded guilty Wednesday in East Lansing, Mich., to misdemeanor domestic violence and malicious destruction of property, according to court records and multiple media reports.
It wasn’t immediately clear what impact the plea will have on Taylor’s playing career. The plea came just hours before the Hornets’ season opener on Wednesday night. The team declined to comment on Taylor’s guilty plea.
NBA Spokesman Mike Bass said: “We are aware of Jeffery Taylor’s plea today. The NBA’s investigation of the matter is continuing.”
In comments to the Observer on Tuesday, team owner Michael Jordan said the Hornets would follow the NBA’s lead in determining what punishment Taylor faces.
“We’ll have conversations with the league and follow on the heels of that,” Jordan said. “When it happened we did all the due diligences. We felt it necessary that Jeffrey step away from the team and deal with the legal situation. ... We looked to take the necessary steps to prevent it and to deal with it.”
Taylor’s attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Court documents indicated Taylor and prosecutors agreed on a deal Tuesday. A charge of assault and battery against a hotel employee was dropped, according to TV news station WILX.
Taylor faces a potential 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, according to the news station.
The prosecutor told Judge Andrea Larkin they would not object to her allowing Taylor to participate in a probation diversion program, which could lead to the domestic violence charge being removed from his legal record, according to WILX.
Taylor, 25, said in court that he pushed his girlfriend into the wall at the Marriott Hotel in East Lansing, and the hotel room wall was damaged, the station reported.
Police were called to the hotel about 1 a.m. Sept. 25 and arrested Taylor. A day later, the Hornets banned Taylor from participating in team activities while the legal process played out.
Taylor’s domestic violence arrest came as pro sports teams, their fans and advertisers have been embroiled in a national discussion about athletes accused of domestic violence. Staff writer Rick Bonnell contributed.