Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges will be making his season debut on November 17th, 2023, against the Milwaukee Bucks as part of the In-Season Tournament. This will be Bridges' first NBA game since April 13th, 2022, when the Hornets lost in the Play-In Tournament. However, Bridges' return to the court is not without controversy.
During the offseason, Bridges was arrested on multiple domestic violence charges, leading to him not being offered a contract by any NBA team. These charges were serious, as he was accused of felony domestic violence in Los Angeles, California. The charges included violence resulting in bodily injury, with his then-partner suffering a concussion, nasal bone fracture, rib contusion, and strained neck muscle. Bridges was released on $130,000 bond following his arrest.
In November 2022, Bridges pleaded no contest to the charges, accepting the punishment and conviction without formally admitting guilt. He did not serve any jail time but was sentenced to three years' probation and received a 10-year protective restraining order from his former partner.
Unfortunately, the troubles did not end there for Bridges. In early October 2023, he violated the protective order during a custody exchange with his ex-partner, the mother of his two children. Reportedly, he threw billiard balls at his ex-partner's vehicle while the children were inside, resulting in a smashed windshield and dented vehicle. Bridges turned himself in to authorities and was subsequently released on a $1,000 bond.
The NBA took swift action in response to Bridges' actions. On April 14th, 2023, he was suspended for 30 games. The league conducted its own thorough investigation, reviewing all available materials and interviewing numerous witnesses, including domestic violence experts. The suspension took into account the conduct and its outcome, as well as the resolution of the criminal case. Since Bridges was not under contract at the time, the league determined that 20 games of the suspension had already been served. As a result, he only had to miss the first 10 games of the 2023-24 season after signing with the Hornets.
The Charlotte Hornets organization released a statement regarding Bridges' reinstatement, expressing their comfort with him returning to play based on their understanding of the facts surrounding the allegations. They also stated that they will continue to stay in contact with the NBA as the legal process unfolds.
Bridges' return to the court raises important questions about the NBA's stance on domestic violence and player accountability. While he has served his suspension and is now eligible to play, it is crucial to address how professional sports organizations handle these sensitive matters and ensure the well-being and safety of all individuals involved.
As Miles Bridges steps back onto the basketball court, it's essential to remember the deeper issues at play and the significance of addressing them effectively to prevent future incidents of domestic violence.