An apologetic Jeff Taylor said he will not appeal the NBA’s 24-game suspension following his guilty plea on domestic violence charges.
The Hornets forward addressed the media on Monday and said he takes “full responsibility” for his actions and deemed NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s punishment “appropriate.”
Taylor apologized to the Hornets organization, his teammates and the woman whom he assaulted at a hotel in East Lansing, Michigan, in September. Taylor said he has met with general manager Rich Cho and addressed his teammates but has not yet spoken to owner Michael Jordan.
Taylor, 25, said he’s “genuinely sorry for everything that happened.”
The National Basketball Players Association last week called the suspension “excessive” and said it would support an appeal by Taylor.
Taylor chose not to appeal the suspension, which will cost him nearly $200,000 of his $915,000 salary this season.
“My actions were wrong, and I don’t care to appeal a decision that was based off my actions being wrong,” Taylor said. “So I respect the league’s decision on the suspension, and I will take all of the necessary steps to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”
Taylor apologized repeatedly to the victim, but would not say if they are still romantically involved.
“There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t regret what happened and wish I could go back and change everything and make one better decision,” Taylor said.
Silver sent a stern message on the league’s lack of tolerance for domestic violence on Wednesday when he suspended Taylor without pay for 24 games after Taylor pleaded guilty Oct. 29 to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property.
Taylor is eligible to return Dec. 17 against Phoenix.
“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 release last week.
The NBA conducted an investigation into Taylor’s arrest after 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.
Silver ordered Taylor to 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.
Taylor said he didn’t want to discuss the incidents of that morning or what was released in the commissioner’s report.
He said he has already begun counseling and that alcohol is “something I need to remove from my life.”
Domestic violence has been at the forefront of the national sports scene this year ever since Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punched his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator. Taylor refused to blame the media focus on domestic violence as a reason for the severe punishment.
“I think it is appropriate, and I respect the commissioner’s decision,” Taylor said.
A former second-round pick out of Vanderbilt, Taylor spent the past two seasons vying for playing time with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist before tearing his Achilles last year. He has averaged 6.6 points and 2.0 rebounds for his career.
As for how the suspension — and the negative publicity that comes with it — will affect his career, Taylor said that is not his primary concern.
“The basketball part will work itself out,” Taylor said. “I’m more concerned with the person involved and making sure that she was OK and making sure my family was OK and working out the legal process. Basketball, at the end of the day, was not the most important part.”
SOURCE: The Associated Press