The National Basketball Players Association issued a statement Thursday saying it is prepared to file an appeal on behalf of Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor after he was suspended 24 games over a domestic violence incident.
"The CBA contemplates a minimum 10-game suspension in any case involving a conviction for a violent felony, including domestic violence," Roberts said in her statement. "In contrast, Jeff Taylor was charged with a misdemeanor that is likely to be dismissed at the end of a probationary period. The 24-game suspension is one of the longest in the history of the league.
"We have a scheme of discipline that was the result of collective bargaining between the parties that has been applied consistently over the years. While we appreciate the sensitivity of this societal issue, the Commissioner is not entitled to rewrite the rules or otherwise ignore precedent in disciplinary matters. While ultimately this is Jeff's decision, we stand ready to file an immediate appeal on his behalf."
Taylor was arrested Sept. 25 and charged with assault, misdemeanor domestic assault and misdemeanor malicious destruction of property. He pleaded guilty to the latter two charges on Oct. 29. The assault charge was dropped as a part of his plea deal.
Taylor said in court that he pushed his then-girlfriend, damaging a wall in an East Lansing, Mich., hotel.
In his opinion, NBA commissioner Adam Silver highlighted his commitment to stopping domestic violence, saying the issue has the league's full attention.
I have the responsibility to safeguard the best interests of the league and all of its constituents. ln 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.
The Hornets suspended Taylor indefinitely the day after his arrest and said they would decide on his possible reinstatement after the NBA concluded its own investigation.
Because Taylor has already missed the first 11 games of the season, he must sit out 13 games to satisfy the terms of the NBA's suspension. Taylor will be eligible to return for the Hornets' Dec. 17 game against the Phoenix Suns.
Taylor's arrest was the NBA's first domestic violence incident after the issue became a national topic in the wake of the Ray Rice controversy in the NFL. In the NHL, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the league after his October domestic violence arrest. It was announced Thursday that Voynov has been charged.
Taylor was sentenced to 18 months' probation after his guilty plea. The domestic assault misdemeanor carries up to 93 days in jail, but the prosecutor in the case said at the time Taylor entered his plea, it wouldn't object to the judge ordering Taylor to be placed in a probation diversion program.
A second-round pick of Charlotte in the 2012 NBA draft, Taylor has averaged 6.6 points over 103 career games.
- Ben Estes and Chris Johnson