Charlotte Hornets forward Jeff Taylor was arrested Thursday morning on a domestic assault charge in Michigan, drawing the city’s NBA franchise into an ongoing national debate about professional athletes and domestic violence.
Taylor, 25, 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 Ingham County jail on $5,000 bond.
Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings announced Friday that Taylor will have a pre-trial court date Oct. 8 in East Lansing District Court.
East Lansing Police responded to a report of domestic assault at the Marriott at University Place around 1 a.m. A police spokesman declined to disclose more details about the case, saying it was an ongoing criminal matter. A police report wasn’t available Thursday.
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The Hornets issued a brief statement concerning Taylor’s domestic-assault arrest at about 7:45 p.m. that included, “This is a matter that we take very seriously.”
The rest of the Hornets’ statement: “The Charlotte Hornets were made aware of the incident involving Jeffery Taylor early this evening. The organization is in the process of gathering more information and doing our due diligence.”
Taylor’s domestic-assault arrest comes as pro sports teams, their fans and advertisers are embroiled in a national discussion about athletes accused of domestic violence.
The NFL has faced heavy criticism of its personal conduct policy after incidents this year involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy, the latter a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers.
Hardy, who is accused of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, agreed to take a paid leave of absence this month rather than face a possible suspension from the NFL, a move that will keep the Pro Bowl pass-rusher out until at least November and possibly for the rest of the season.
These NFL incidents have brought domestic violence among athletes into stark focus and called into question whether NFL officials, all the way up to Commissioner Roger Goodell, were lax in their oversight.
The NBA has taken notice of this, with Commissioner Adam Silver saying Monday the league would review its procedures in consultation with the players association.
“We learn from other leagues’ experiences,” Silver told the Associated Press. “We’re studying everything that has been happening in the NFL. We’re working with our players association. We’ve been talking for several weeks and we’re going to take a fresh look at everything we do.”
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement calls for a minimum 10-game suspension for a first offense of a player convicted of a violent felony.
Both of Taylor’s assault charges are misdemeanors if a person has no prior offenses. Malicious destruction of property can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how much the property is worth.
“We have in place the appropriate mechanisms for discipline, although we’ll take a fresh look at those as well,” Silver said. “But most importantly it’s education, and it’s not just the players, it’s the players’ families. That’s what we’re learning, too.”
The NBA issued a brief statement Thursday evening saying it is aware of Taylor’s arrest and is investigating.
Taylor, a 6-foot-7, 216-pound forward, was selected by the then-Bobcats with the 31st pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He is scheduled to be at Hornets training camp Tuesday, almost nine months after he ruptured his right Achilles tendon in a game against the Detroit Pistons days before Christmas.
He has fully recovered from that injury and was expected to be the backup to small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist this season.
The son of a U.S. professional basketball player who migrated to Sweden, Taylor moved to New Mexico as a teenager hoping to earn a college scholarship. He played four college seasons at Vanderbilt before the Bobcats drafted him.
Taylor was finally cleared physically for all activity on May 5. He ran through a couple of summer-league practices, and has been playing pickup games with his fellow Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Taylor is not the only Hornet to be charged with a violent crime of late. Rookie P.J. Hairston received a summons of misdemeanor assault in July in Durham after an incident during a pickup basketball game at a YMCA.