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The Cycle Continues Around Miles Bridges

Miles Bridges #0 of the Charlotte Hornets in action against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on March 27, 2022 in New York City.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

A criminal summons was issued last week for Miles Bridges, listing three charges. According to the summons, obtained by multiple outlets, the mother of Bridges's children said that during a custody exchange, the Charlotte Hornets forward threw billiard balls at her car while children were inside. The balls smashed the car's windshield as well as leaving dents. Bridges’s current girlfriend, per the records, also yelled, screamed, and kicked at the car.

Before it was over, Bridges gave her a warning, the document said. He told her that, if she called the police, he would stop paying child support. Specifically, per court records, Bridges, currently on a one-year, $7.9 million contract, said that if she called police, “he would take everything from her.”

A police report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department doesn’t add much, just that on Oct. 6 at about 9:00 p.m. a protective order was violated and this was reported to police four days later. Another police report, obtained by The Charlotte Observer, added that on Oct. 6 police did go to the neighborhood where Bridges lives, where his ex-girlfriend said her SUV had been damaged. She also gave police a name, which is not listed, and an investigation began. The criminal summons contains three charges: violating a protective order, misdemeanor child abuse, and injury to personal property.

This was not the first time the mother of Bridges's children contacted authorities. Bridges recently was served with an arrest warrant that had been outstanding since early January. The charge listed on that warrant—misdemeanor violation of a protective order—is for when, per the warrant, Bridges “unlawfully and willfully did knowingly violate a valid protective order” from California because Bridges "continually contacted [the] victim via social media and telecommunication device."

That California protective order followed Bridges pleading no contest last year to injuring an intimate-partner in Los Angeles Superior Court, and his plea deal included a 10-year protective order as well as three year's probation. Around the time of Bridges’s arrest, the mother of his children shared photos of her injuries as well as a medical discharge document saying she had been diagnosed with "assault by strangulation; brain concussion; closed fracture of nasal bone; contusion of rib; multiple bruises; strain of neck muscle." She also posted video of their son describing what happened and saying, “Daddy choked mommy.”

At the time of Bridges’s arrest last year, the NBA said it would investigate and the league eventually levied a 30-game suspension without pay, which really was a 10-game suspension because the league chose to count the entire 2022-23 season that Bridges missed following his arrest as 20 of those games. The big payday that had been envisioned for Bridges before the arrest never materialized. Instead, he settled for returning to Charlotte on a one-year deal.

After the news broke of the recent summons and the arrest warrant, Bridges briefly changed his Twitter profile photo to one of Johnny Depp, who sued his ex-wife, Amber Heard, for defamation after she wrote in a newspaper op-ed that she was a public figure "representing domestic abuse." On Friday, Bridges turned himself in on the January arrest warrant and was released on $1,000 bond, per the Associated Press. An NBA spokesperson said the league was looking into it.

On Monday, Bridges practiced with his team. In the video clip shared by Observer reporter Rod Boone, the practice could not have looked more normal. As former NFL linebacker Bart Scott once said, “Production breeds tolerance.”

From here, there will be a court process. There will be another NBA investigation. There will be more fans weighing in online with their own thoughts on intimate-partner violence. If that sounds familiar, it should. You do not need to be an expert on intimate-partner and family violence to know the phrase “the cycle of violence.” All these years after all these sports leagues vowed to act on intimate-partner violence, I don’t know if their actions have demonstrably made victims safer or reduced violence in meaningful ways. But what I can say is, now, they feel familiar. As familiar as the umpteenth phone call to police, or the photos of bruises and black eyes taken in secret, or the promise it won’t happen again. This too is a cycle now; the cycle of violence-adjacent corporate public relations.

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