The NBA announced a 24-game suspension for Charlotte Hornets forward Jeff Taylor on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge in Michigan last month.
Taylor, who has been on paid leave, will have to forfeit 24 games worth of pay as part of the punishment. The league will count the 11 games he’s missed so far toward the 24-game total, so he will be out the next 13 games. He will be eligible to play against the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 17.
He is eligible to start practicing with the Hornets but is not allowed to travel with the team while suspended.
In a lengthy statement Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged Taylor’s suspension is considerably longer than past such punishments by the NBA.
Wrote Silver: “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.”
The Hornets issued a brief statement saying, “We understand and support the NBA’s position in this matter.”
The NBA provided details from its investigation into what Taylor did on Sept. 24 in an East Lansing, Mich., hotel with a woman with whom he was having a romantic relationship.
According to the report, Taylor was drinking heavily that night and began arguing loudly enough that hotel security was called. He shoved the woman out of their room and into a hotel hallway, causing her to hit her head on a door, the report states.
He then grabbed her by the arm, according to the report. Police saw marks on her arm and a bump on her head, but she refused medical attention.
Taylor punched a hole in a hotel wall and was “belligerent and uncooperative” when being arrested by police, the report states.
The NBA’s investigation was conducted by attorneys David Anders and Martha Stolley, both former prosecutors. Stolley has extensive experience in domestic violence cases. In addition, the NBA consulted with domestic violence experts Ted Bunch, Linda Fairstein and Kalimah Johnson.
On Oct. 29, Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property. He was sentenced to 18 months probation. As part of that probation, he must complete a domestic violence intervention program, enter an out-patient alcohol treatment program and complete 80 hours of community service.
“This suspension is necessary to protect the interests of the NBA and the public’s confidence in it,” Silver wrote. “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.”
Taylor was scheduled to make about $915,000 this season. The suspension will cost him about $268,000 in salary.
The National Basketball Players Association did not immediately comment.
Domestic violence involving athletes has become a major issue this fall. The NFL suspended former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after video of him assaulting his then-fiance became public. This week the NFL suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for the rest of this season after he pleaded no-contest in Texas to abusing one of his children with a switch from a tree.
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is awaiting a jury trial regarding charges he assaulted his then-girlfriend in his Charlotte condo. Hardy is on a commissioner’s exempt list, which essentially is the same as the paid leave status Taylor had with the Hornets.