Adam Silver Defends N.B.A.’s Miles Bridges Suspension

N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday defended the unusual disciplinary approach for forward Miles Bridges, who was suspended for 30 games for domestic violence but will miss just 10 games in which he is eligible to play.

Bridges, 25, was a restricted free agent but did not sign with a team or play during the 2022-23 season after his arrest in California in June, when he was accused of hitting his girlfriend in front of their children. He pleaded no contest to a felony domestic violence charge in November, but it wasn’t until April 14, after a league investigation, that the N.B.A. announced his punishment: a 30-game suspension, with credit for 20 games because he did not play this season. Typically, players are credited for games only when they are eligible and available to play.

On Tuesday, Silver said the league and Bridges had a “mutual agreement” that he would not play during the 2022-23 season — though Silver was careful to say that Bridges was not suspended. Silver said crediting Bridges for 20 games toward the penalty seemed like the right thing to do because he missed a year of income and N.B.A. play. The league also confirmed that Bridges would lose 30 games of pay, even though his suspension would keep him out of just 10 games if he signed a new contract.

But if Bridges’s absence this season was supposed to be a form of punishment, it did not appear that way: In December, he joked around with players in Los Angeles at a game between the Lakers and Charlotte Hornets, whom he played for last season. And in February, he told The Associated Press that he might return to play in March. He was sentenced to a year of counseling, and community service. Representatives for Bridges did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bridges’s punishment has been criticized by some reporters and by fans on social media.

The fairness and accountability in the N.B.A.’s disciplinary process has been called into question this season after a series of incidents in which players received different punishments for similar offenses, or were punished more severely than they or their peers felt was fair. League officials said they weigh several factors in meting out penalties, including a person’s past behavior, which may lead to different outcomes.

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