Content warning: The following article contains graphic descriptions of alleged domestic violence.
Ahead of Miles Bridges' return to the NBA on Friday, the Charlotte Hornets released a statement addressing his continued legal trouble.
The statement comes after Charlotte opted not to immediately acknowledge the most recent allegations against the 25-year-old.
“Miles Bridges is eligible to return to our active roster on Friday after serving his NBA suspension,” the team said Thursday. “We are comfortable with Miles returning to play based on our current understanding of the facts of the recent allegations and remain in contact with the NBA as that matter proceeds through the court process.”
Bridges pleaded no contest to the felony domestic violence charge of injuring a child's parent in November 2022. He was arrested on the eve of free agency that summer after his wife, Mychelle Johnson, shared and later deleted graphic images of injuries she alleged she sustained during a violent attack. Johnson wrote she sustained a fractured nose, a fractured wrist, a torn eardrum, torn muscles in her neck, a "severe concussion" and was choked until she "went to sleep."
Ten months after Bridges' arrest, the NBA suspended him for 30 games. He did not play at all last season, which the league counted toward 20 games of his suspension. He missed the first 10 games of the current campaign. NBA commissioner Adam Silver was eventually prompted to address the controversially short punishment. The final suspension accounted for the fact the league and Bridges had a "mutual agreement" for him to not play during the 2022 season, Silver said.
But Bridges' situation didn't consistently reflect such an agreement. He was reportedly working toward a new deal with the Hornets in December 2022 after his domestic violence conviction. The Hornets denied the report more than a week later.
Almost a year after his plea, Bridges will play for the Hornets while embroiled in another case. He turned himself into authorities last month in response to a criminal summons for the alleged violation of a domestic violence protective order.
He is accused of threatening the mother of his children during a custody exchange. He allegedly threw pool table balls at her vehicle, damaging her windshield and the body of her car. Bridges allegedly said that if she told the police, he would take everything from her and withhold child support.
Bridges appeared in court Monday, where the case was continued for three months. His new court date is scheduled for Feb. 20.
HC Steve Clifford, Bridges briefly address domestic violence
Friday will be his first active game in 19 months. His last contest for the Hornets was a play-in tournament loss to the Atlanta Hawks in April 2022. In that game, Bridges was ejected and threw his mouthpiece into the stands in anger. He apologized and the league fined him $50,000.
In Bridges' return, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is expecting him to immediately have a "significant" role for the 3-7 team.
"We've already made statements about that," Clifford said Sunday when asked about Bridges currently pending case.
The coach made a quick pivot to discuss Bridges' ability to contribute on the court:
"The big thing for me, obviously, is two years ago he was the high scorer, high rebounder," Clifford added. "Since he's been here he's had a great attitude. He's been a terrific worker. He is a great teammate, and he's a really, really good player. He's got himself in good shape, and he'll play a big role right away."
On Thursday, Bridges seemed to echo that sentiment when he spoke with reporters and addressed criticism surrounding his comeback.
“I know a lot of people feel some type of way about me being back and I understand that," he said. "It’ll be a while before I gain their trust back. So I’m just gonna go out there and play. If I get us some more wins, peoples perspective will change.”
“I know a lot of people feel some type of way about me being back and I understand that. It’ll be a while before I gain their trust back. So I’m just gonna go out there and play. If I get us some more wins, peoples perspective will change.”
Bridges on how he’ll be perceived. pic.twitter.com/wkt1J7xCnY
— Jerry Donatien (@JerryDonatien) November 16, 2023
If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, help is available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 with free, anonymous help by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), texting “START” to 88788 or online at thehotline.org.