STEVE REED, AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wanted to send a strong message on the league’s lack of tolerance for domestic violence.
So he suspended Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor for 24 games without pay after Taylor pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property.
“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,” Silver said in a statement on Wednesday.
Taylor will get credit for the 11 games he has missed, and will sit out an additional 13, which is slightly more than one-fourth of the league’s 82-game schedule.
The suspension means Taylor will lose nearly $200,000 of his $915,000 salary this season.
It’s unclear if Taylor plans to appeal. Attempts to reach the NBA Players Association on Wednesday night were unsuccessful.
Taylor, 25, is in his third NBA season. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation. As part of his probation, he must complete 26 weeks in a domestic violence intervention program.
Silver was praised for his prompt and decisive punishment when it came to the Donald Sterling situation. Silver banned the Los Angeles Clippers owner and forced him to sell his stake in the franchise after his racially charged comments.
He took similar action in his effort to leave no doubt where the league stands on domestic violence.
“This suspension is necessary to protect the interests of the NBA and the public’s confidence in it,” Silver said in the statement. “Mr. Taylor’s conduct violates applicable law and, in my opinion, does not conform to standards of morality and is prejudicial and detrimental to the NBA.”
Taylor’s suspension comes at a time when domestic violence has dominated the sports landscape around the country, including Charlotte.
Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted in July on two counts of domestic violence. He is appealing, but is not allowed to return until after the trial is completed.
Hardy played one game for the Panthers, before a video was released of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiance in a hotel elevator, leading to the league changing how it handles domestic violence situations. Hardy was placed on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list three weeks into the season and continues to collect his $13.1 million salary from the Panthers.
The Hornets released a statement before their game Wednesday night against Indiana, saying: “The NBA has informed us of its decision to suspend Jeffery Taylor. We understand and support the NBA’s position in this matter.”
The NBA conducted an investigation into Taylor’s arrest in an East Lansing, Michigan hotel the morning of Sept. 25 following an altercation with a woman with whom he was having a romantic relationship.
Taylor and the woman were drinking heavily at a hotel room and a loud argument ensued, prompting guests to call security, the league’s statement outlined. The argument escalated and Taylor shoved the woman in a violent manner into the hallway where she fell to the ground and struck her head on an opposite door.
The statement also said Taylor slapped her arm and punched a hole in the wall near his hotel room. The woman had marks on her upper arm and a bump on her head but declined medical treatment, the report said.
Taylor was arrested by East Lansing police officers and according to NBA investigation was “belligerent and uncooperative.”
Silver said Taylor also must enter an outpatient alcohol treatment program and perform alcohol sensor tests daily for 60 days. After that, he is subject to random testing by the probation department. He must also perform 80 hours of community service.
The domestic assault charge will be dismissed if Taylor successfully meets the conditions of his probation. If Taylor fails to meet the conditions of his probation he could be subject to further punishment from the league.
When asked before Charlotte’s game against the Pacers if the suspension was too stiff, Hornets backup center Jason Maxiell said, “It’s hard to answer that one right now.”
A second-round pick in 2012 out of Vanderbilt, Taylor missed most of last year with a ruptured Achilles tendon but is healthy now.
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Taylor has been competing for the past two seasons with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for a starting spot at small forward. He played in 26 games with eight starts last season before suffering his injury in late December.
As a rookie in 2012, he played in 77 games with 29 starts. He has averaged 6.6 points and 2.0 rebounds for his career.
AP Sports Writer Mike Marot in Indianapolis, Indiana contributed to this report.
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