NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a 1,000-word statement in which he shared the details of the incident and the league’s rationale for its punishment.
“Domestic violence is a serious societal issue that is antithetical to any community or organization that prides itself on the values of respect for others, good moral character, and common decency. These values are central to the NBA, and domestic violence is an issue that is commanding our full attention. I have the responsibility to safeguard the best interests of the league and all of its constituents. In addition to its profound impact on victims, domestic violence committed by any member of the NBA family causes damage to the league and undermines the public’s confidence in it,” Silver said in the statement.
The alleged altercation is said to have occurred on Sept. 24, according the NBA. The league reports that after a “night of heavy drinking,” Taylor and an unidentified woman got into a heated argument which rapidly became physical. According to Silver, Taylor shoved the women to the ground, struck her head against a door, slapped her arm and then punched a hole in the wall near his hotel room.
Taylor was arrested afterwards and pled guilty to charges of misdemeanor domestic violence assault and two lesser charges. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation and must complete a domestic violence intervention program. He also must complete 80 hours of community service.
Silver’s 24-game suspension by the NBA is a far cry from the NFL’s initial, widely-criticized two-game suspension of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for a February domestic violence incident with his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator. Rice’s suspension was eventually increased to an indefinite period of time. That decision is currently being appealed.
Meanwhile, Silver has already set himself apart as not-your-average big league commissioner. One of his first major acts as head of the NBA was to ban former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life, after Sterling’s racist sentiments about his team’s black players and fans went viral. Last week, he broke with tradition and most of his fellow commissioners by publicly supporting legalized gambling in professional sports.
By coming out early and swiftly with his punishment of Taylor, Silver may have prematurely avoided the public relations nightmare which dogged the NFL this fall, when that league’s inability to have a consistent message on sexual assault and domestic violence made national headlines.
“The NBA is committed to vigilance with respect to domestic violence. We will continue to work closely with the Players Association to provide education, awareness training, and appropriate resources to NBA players and their families. We recognize our responsibility to do all that we can to prevent this destructive and unacceptable conduct from happening in the future,” Silver said in Wednesday’s statement.