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Charlotte Hornets star Miles Bridges’ first appearance since 2022 arrest for domestic violence. What did he say?

Following his 2022 arrest on domestic violence charges, the Hornets star missed the whole season. Now, he’s spoken publicly for the first time since.

Update:
Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges has been charged with domestic violence after physically harming a woman on Wednesday and turning himself into LAPD.

It goes without saying that there are many layers to the situation surrounding the Hornets star, and while there will surely be debate about whether the franchise is doing the right thing by allowing him to return, the flip side would be to ask the age-old question: Don’t we all deserve a second chance?

*Please be advised that the following article contains graphic descriptions of alleged domestic violence.*

Charlotte Hornets & Miles Bridges are getting back together

On Tuesday, Charlotte Hornets star Miles Bridges faced the media for the first time since his 2022 arrest on domestic violence charges, an event that eventually led to him missing the entirety of this most recent campaign. The purpose of Bridges’ appearance was not simply to discuss his actions but to confirm that he will, in fact, be returning to the team. Indeed, reports indicate that Bridges recently signed a $7.9 million qualifying offer for the 2023-24 season. As such the 25-year-old was accompanied by Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak, who in fact was the architect behind Bridges’ return.

“I want to apologize to everybody for the pain and embarrassment that I have caused everyone, especially my family,” Bridges said in an opening statement. “This year away, I’ve used it to prioritize just going to therapy and becoming the best person I can be, someone that my family and everyone here can be proud of. ...I want to thank the Hornets organization and the NBA for giving me a second chance. A lot of people don’t get a second chance, and I want to use this second chance to prove to everyone that I’m the same kid you drafted five years ago.”

What did Miles Bridges do in 2022?

If you missed our previous report, Bridges was arrested in Los Angeles last offseason on charges of attacking his wife, Mychelle Johnson, in front of their children. At the time, Johnson posted a series of images that appeared to catalog her injuries on social media. The images which have since been deleted, were also accompanied by descriptions of her wounds which included “a fracture[d] nose, wrist, torn eardrum, torn muscles in my neck from being choked until I went to sleep and a severe concussion.”

Bridges would go on to plead no contest to a charge of domestic violence toward a spouse or other cohabitant in a plea agreement with prosecutors. As a result, he was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, domestic violence counseling, and parenting classes, and forbidden from owning a firearm or any dangerous weapons. He did not serve any time in prison.

The Charlotte Hornets are in a tight spot with Miles Bridges

Given the serious nature of the charges that were brought against Bridges last year, it’s completely understandable that Kupchak was asked to address the decision to open the door to Bridges’ return. Acknowledging that it was indeed a difficult process, Kupchak also spoke of the effect that Bridges’ compliance with legal conditions had. “The decision to extend the qualifying offer took a lot of time to sort through, a lot of measured thought with ownership, people within the organization,” Kupchak said before highlighting Bridges’ “remorse and accountability” and his vow that “this would never happen again.” At that point, Kupchak made it clear where he stands. “I believe Miles when he said that.”

So, what happens with Miles Bridges now?

Firstly, there is the question of the ban that was handed down to him by the league itself. To be clear, following the events of last year, The NBA conducted an independent investigation and subsequently suspended Bridges for 30 games. With Bridges having served 20 games of that suspension, it appears he will now serve the remaining 10 when the season begins later this year. A harsh reality that both the franchise and the player must now face, and that’s before touching on the topic of public perception.

Speaking about the pitfalls of continuing to work with a player who pleaded no contest to a violent crime, Kupchak didn’t hide from the potential for backlash. “Obviously it is a polarizing topic and I understand how everybody may not agree,” Kupchak said. “It’s a tough situation to be in.” Where Bridges himself is concerned, he also spoke on the situation as he admitted he understands what he did wrong and why people will have issues with him. “People think I don’t deserve a second chance, and I understand that,” Bridges said. “That’s why I’m trying to use this year to prove to everybody just who the person that I am.”

Can Miles Bridges and the Hornets have a happy ending?

There’s no way to ignore the obvious in this situation: Miles Bridges is a very good basketball player. Last season, the forward averaged an impressive 20.2 points, 7 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in what was a breakout season and his fourth in the NBA. To put things in perspective, the Hornets’ final record of 43-39 was their first winning record since 2015-16. As mentioned above, Bridges has signed a qualifying offer as opposed to an extension. What that means is that he will go into the next offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Where the Hornets are concerned, Kupchak explained that the franchise will retain Bridges’ Bird rights, meaning the team will have first dibs on their star if they so choose.

“From a basketball point of view, putting aside the serious nature of what took place, we are excited to get him back,” Kupchak said. “He had his best year ever two years ago. We are excited to get him back. ...Whatever it is to deal with a year from now, we’ll deal with it a year from now.”