Either way, Silver sent a message Wednesday.
Silver suspended Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor 24 games for Taylor’s role in a domestic assault, to which he pleaded guilty in October. The ban follows an investigation by the NBA — independent of the legal process, which led to an 18-month probationary sentence for Taylor — into the incidents of Sept. 24 at a hotel in East Lansing, Mich.
“This suspension is necessary to protect the interests of the NBA and the public’s confidence in it,” Silver said in a statement, which can be read in full below. “Mr. Taylor’s conduct violates applicable law and, in my opinion, does not conform to the standards of morality and is prejudicial and detrimental to the NBA.
“While the suspension is significantly longer than prior suspensions for incidents of domestic violence by NBA players, 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.”
Taylor was on paid leave while the NBA conducted its investigation, causing him to miss the first 11 games of the season. This new suspension is retroactive, in that it will tack on just 13 games to that total, but Taylor will be required to forfeit a financial penalty equal to 24 games.
As part of his sentence, Taylor also must enter a domestic violence intervention program, undergo alcohol counseling and perform community service. The NBA will additionally require Taylor to attend individual counseling sessions, with the stipulation that Silver could revisit the punishment if Taylor does not comply to the NBA’s satisfaction.
Silver’s intent with his lengthy statement (coming in at 999 words) and suspension (amounting to 29 percent of an 82-game season) is unmistakable. With Goodell and the NFL still struggling to free themselves from the dual domestic-violence controversies involving Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the NBA could not afford to take a soft stance. As Silver admitted, the “evolving social consensus” — i.e. the brouhaha in the NFL — contributed to his decision.
Some people might call that reactionary. Some might just call it smart. Good organizations learn from their mistakes; great organizations also learn from the mistakes of others.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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