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A Sufficient Suspension? What is the NBA's Message About Miles Bridges?

Lost in the NBA off-season hustle and bustle, a potentially significant resigning slipped under the radar. There were no real "grade the signing" stories or analysis about what he brings to the team. The silence was noticeable. That signing was Miles Bridges signing his Restricted Free Agent Qualifying offer to return to the Charlotte Hornets. Bridges did not play in the entire 2022-2023 season because of a domestic violence incident that occurred last summer.

Bridges was coming off the best season of his career in 2022. He was looking at a contract well over $100 million. But on June 27th, 2022, he was arrested for assaulting his fiancé, changing the trajectory of his life and career. He was charged with multiple crimes and pleaded no contest to a felony domestic violence charge. He was sentenced to three years of probation with no jail time, one year of parenting classes, one year of domestic violence counseling, 100 hours of community service, and weekly drug testing. He also cannot own a gun or any weapon and will pay a $300 restitution fee and a $500 domestic violence fine.

Bridges sat out this past season and was suspended by the NBA for 30 games. As a result, he received 20 games of "time served" because he was out of the league for the whole season. In essence, he is missing out on 10 game checks this upcoming season. The suspension of Bridges appears minor when compared to that of Ja Morant’s. Morant's issues involving the improper use of firearms have been well documented in the public sphere. However, he never broke a law, let alone physically hurt anyone. His suspension is for 25 games.

The discrepancy between Bridges and Morant’s suspension length is noteworthy, especially if you are of the opinion that being suspended for games in which you are out of the league should not count. Moreover, is serious domestic violence only 5 games worse than a series of foolish Instagram live streams? Is that the message?

The suspension feels arbitrary and insufficient to say the least. I also wonder that if the Hornets were a more relevant team, would people care more? Fortunately for Miles Bridges, people don't seem to care. But some people do, including myself.

Wake Gardner is a rising 2L at the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. Someday he hopes to work for a sports team in Florida. He can be reached on Twitter @WakeGardner and by email at [email protected].


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