NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, now a TNT analyst, used the opening night of the season to raise concerns about domestic violence in the sport. During the pregame show on Tuesday, Barkley directly asked NBA commissioner Adam Silver how the league planned to address the recent incidents involving players.
Barkley stated, “There have been disturbing incidents of domestic violence in the NBA right now. What are we doing to address that? We should be at the forefront in sports by taking a stand against violence towards women. So, what is the league’s plan?”
In response, Silver initially seemed to deflect the question, emphasizing that the league was not competing with other sports to be at the forefront of the issue. However, he acknowledged that the Players Association had been supportive of a revamped program to address domestic violence accusations. While he didn’t provide specific solutions or ideas for handling the recent incidents, Silver highlighted the importance of training and counseling in preventing domestic violence. He also emphasized that consequences for crossing the line would be significant.
Silver assured, “We are addressing the issue. We have state-of-the-art counseling professionals working with our players, and the consequences for crossing the line are enormous.”
Barkley asked the question during the “Inside the NBA” segment with Silver before the season opener between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite a call to cut to commercials, Barkley insisted on asking a “serious” question to Silver.
The Athletic‘s Richard Deitsch confirmed with an anonymous television source present in Denver that Barkley’s question was impromptu and not scripted.
Recent Incidents of Domestic Violence
One of the recent incidents involved former Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr., who was accused of assaulting and choking his girlfriend in early September at a New York hotel. The Assistant Manhattan District Attorney labeled it as a “serious domestic violence case” during court proceedings.
Porter was subsequently traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, along with two second-round picks, and was subsequently waived.
Another incident involved Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges appearing in court on charges of violating a domestic violence protection order, misdemeanor child abuse, and injury to personal property. Bridges was accused of threatening the mother of his children during a custody exchange, throwing billiard balls at her car, and using child support as leverage against reporting the incidents to the police. His children were present during the encounter.
Bridges did not participate in the 2022-23 season after being arrested on June 29, 2022. He faced charges of injuring a child’s parent and child abuse and was suspended by the NBA for 30 games without pay. The league granted him credit for the 20 games he had already missed during the previous season. Bridges will begin the 2023-24 season serving a remaining 10-game suspension with the Hornets.
Additionally, Los Angeles Clippers guard Josh Primo will start the 2023-24 season under suspension. A San Antonio Spurs employee accused Primo of exposing himself to her. Former Spurs psychologist Hillary Cauthen also filed a lawsuit against Primo, alleging multiple incidents of indecent exposure. Cauthen claimed that Primo exposed himself to her on nine occasions.
Primo received a four-game suspension without pay from the NBA for “conduct detrimental to the NBA.”
Silver’s Response and Analysis
Silver must approach any issue connected to league-sanctioned discipline cautiously because all such matters are collectively bargained with the NBPA. It is commendable that the league provides counseling resources to those in need, especially as young players enter the league.
However, critics argue that under Silver’s leadership, the NBA has been hesitant to get involved in legal proceedings related to domestic violence until they have been resolved. While some may view the Rockets’ decision to trade Porter and the Thunder’s subsequent release of him as consequences for his charges, it raises questions about whether the business of team-building takes precedence over the life-altering impact of domestic violence. — Eric Koreen, Toronto Raptors writer
(Photo: AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post)
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