Last week, Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird was arrested on charges of assault, kidnapping and strangulation. In an arraignment hearing on Thursday, prosecutors alleged that Bird strangled the victim at least a dozen times over a four-hour period. The woman also says he threw her against a wall after the two sides got into an argument — eventually strangling her until she went limp.
Bird’s lawyer says that his client “understands the seriousness of the allegations.” Of course, he felt the need to sneak in the ‘ol “two sides to every story” bit. But at least the Celtics organization seems to have its head in the right place.
“Most importantly, our thoughts are with the victim of this incident,” their statement. “The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird,” it continues.
“…the Celtics will be working with both the league and local authorities to assist in their ongoing investigations. The team will have no further comment at this time.”
Saying it is one thing. But meaning these words is another matter entirely. And in the world of professional sports, we know how this usually goes. Lots of DV cases end up not going to trial, even if the person in question (Bird, in this case) did do it. Abusive relationships are difficult to get out of. Fear plays a big factor. For the time being, the Celtics have taken a relatively positive step.
Depending on how legal proceedings play out, the Celtics can void Bird’s contract. As it stands, they’d be paying him $1.35 million this season. At the end of the day, is it too cynical to suggest that this just becomes a business decision? Probably not. We’ve seen this movie before.
Now all we can do is wait to see how this one plays out.