The head of the National Basketball Players Association is calling Jeff Taylor’s 24-game suspension “excessive, without precedent and a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
Michele Roberts’ strongly-worded statement Thursday suggests the union is prepared to appeal the suspension on behalf of Taylor, the Charlotte Hornets small forward who has been on paid leave.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Wednesday that Taylor would serve a 24-game suspension after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic-violence charge in Michigan.
Under terms Silver set, Taylor would get credit for the 11 games he’s already missed this season, but would have to forfeit salary for all 24 games.
Roberts asserts that exceeds Silver’s power under the CBA.
“The CBA contemplates a minimum 10-game suspension in any case involving a conviction for a violent felony, including domestic violence,” Roberts wrote. “In contrast, Jeff Taylor was charged with a misdemeanor that likely is going to be dismissed at the end of a probationary period.”
Roberts said that while the union appreciates the societal overtones of domestic violence, “the Commissioner is not entitled to rewrite the rules” established under the CBA.
Roberts wrote the union stands “ready to file an immediate appeal on (Taylor’s) behalf.”
Silver acknowledged in his statement Wednesday that this 24-game suspension strays from previous punishments for similar crimes.
Said 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 NBA provided details from their 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 he and the woman 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.
He then grabbed her by the arm. 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 East Lansing police.
On Oct. 29, Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence and destruction of hotel property. He was sentenced to 18 months probation.