Miles Bridges was destined to be one of the most sought-after players in NBA free agency, but that’s not important anymore. Bridges is now at the center of felony domestic violence charges, with the Hornets forward arrested Wednesday in Los Angeles on felony assault and released on $130,000 bond.
The arrest now puts the entire NBA’s domestic violence policy under the microscope, and so far the league has been silent. The only official statement issued by any entity in the league came from the Hornets, who used standard “we’re looking into it” language.
Absent any proposed punishment from the NBA or the Hornets, here’s what we know about the charges against Bridges, what his accuser says, and how this could play out given what we know about the NBA’s domestic violence protocol. league. supports
The accusations against Miles Bridges
On Tuesday night, an alleged argument between Bridges and his wife, Mychelle Johnson, turned violent, according to a victim statement to the LAPD obtained by TMZ. Johnson was hospitalized after the incident, and police issued a warrant for Bridges’ arrest.
Bridges turned himself in to police shortly after 2 pm PT Wednesday and was charged with “serious domestic violence.” Under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), this charge is filed when a victim shows signs of injury and police believe these injuries were caused by a domestic partner or cohabitant.
Bridges posted $130,000 bond for his release, and neither he nor Officer Rich Paul made any statement regarding the arrest.
On Thursday night, Johnson posted detailed photos of his injuries, as well as a copy of the hospital report that found he had suffered a chokehold, a concussion, a broken nose and several bruises. We will not insert the photos here out of respect for those caused by domestic violence photos, but they can be found here. In addition, Johnson posted a video of a conversation with the couple’s son, who recounted the incident by saying “Daddy drowned Mommy,” adding that Bridges threw his wife’s phone out the window during the argument.
Johnson alleges that the abuse has been going on for a long time in their relationship, in the caption of her post.
“I hate that it has come to this, but I can no longer be silent. I allowed someone to destroy my home, abuse me in every possible way, and traumatize our children for life. I have nothing to prove to the world, but I will not allow anyone who can do something so horrible to have no remorse and paint a picture of something I am not. I will not allow the people around him to continue to silence me and lie to protect this person. It’s unethical, it’s immoral, it’s really SICK. My heart aches because I’ve always had hope, and so much love and as scary as it is for me, it’s time for me to stand up for myself. I will no longer shut up to protect others because I value myself and my children more than anyone’s ‘image’…a broken nose, wrist, torn eardrum, torn muscles in my neck from being suffocated until I went to sleep and a severe concussion. I don’t need sympathy, I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else, I just want this person to get help, my kids deserve better. That’s all I want. It hurts me, everything hurts me, this situation hurts me, most importantly I am afraid and it hurts me for my children who witnessed everything. Please respect my family’s privacy and stop with the disgusting rumors and accusations.”
Bridges posted a video of himself playing basketball Thursday afternoon. No mention of the charges was made.
What is the NBA’s policy on domestic violence?
The 2017 collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the NBAPA gives players a lot of leniency in the event of an arrest. Teams may not punish players for arrests, but may punish them based on the events underlying their arrest, as long as they can establish an “independent basis for doing so.”
More important in regards to Bridges is Article VI, Section 16, which states that “[t]The NBA/NBAPA Joint Policy on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse” would continue unchanged. This policy is exceptionally vague when it comes to the actual punishment meted out to players, with the only mention of actual suspension in the event a player fails to cooperate with league investigators.
In a practical sense, the league is mandated to select a three-member panel and open an investigation into the charges against Bridges. There is no timeline for this investigation, however, Adam Silver has the power to place a player on administrative leave, banning the player from any team activity until the investigation is complete. However, even getting to this point is difficult, because there is a codified assumption of innocence when it comes to a player being considered a good guy within the league. The policy requires Silver to consider “the player’s character” and “the player’s reputation within the NBA community” when determining whether a player can be placed on administrative leave.
These “character” factors will also be used in determining punishment after resolution by the investigative panel. Additionally, if a player is placed on administrative leave, the CBA requires that time spent on leave must be credited toward any suspension. This pretty much means that, let’s say Bridges is out as of today, and let’s say he is convicted in October. If the NBA suspended him for a year, he would be reinstated in June 2023 when the administrative leave began, not when the domestic violence suspension began.
What happens next?
The NBA should establish its investigative panel to investigate the charges against Bridges. Other than that, essentially nothing. The vague nature of the CBA in regards to domestic violence means that Bridges requires nothing more than to participate in the investigation.
Teams are free to continue free agency with Bridges as usual. As a restricted free agent, the Hornets had extended him a qualifying offer prior to his arrest, but no other team at this time has signed him with an offer sheet. It remains to be seen if any organization will decide to try to book Bridges with the charges against him, but nothing is stopping business as usual.