Trigger Warning: This article contains graphic details of domestic violence.
For NBA players, their first brush with free agency is supposed to be a celebratory rite of passage.
In the case of Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges, after three seasons of relative anonymity, his explosive athleticism and penchant for embarrassing defenders off the pick-and-roll propelled him to a career year during the 2021-22 season, in which he demonstrated tremendous potential and put up the kind of gaudy numbers—20.2 points and seven boards per game, to be exact—that traditionally warrant a massive contract from both big and small-market teams.
However, on the eve of free agency, which was set to begin on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, instead of commanding a maximum NBA salary of $173 million over the course of five years—after wisely declining a four-year, $60 million pact with the Hornets last fall—the Michigan State product opted to destroy his family instead of positioning his wife and two children for the type of generational wealth that most of us only dream of.
On Wednesday afternoon, the 24-year-old was arrested for felony domestic violence. But while details were initially scarce, Bridge’s wife, Mychelle Johnson, took it upon herself to fill in the blanks on Friday.
“I hate that it has come to this but I can’t be silent anymore,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’ve allowed someone to destroy my home, abuse me in every way possible and traumatize our kids for life. I have nothing to prove to the world, but I won’t allow anyone who could do something so horrible to have no remorse and paint a picture of something I’m not.”
She then went on to detail the injuries that she allegedly incurred during her domestic dispute—“a fractured nose, wrist, torn eardrum, torn muscles in my neck from being choked until i went to sleep [with] a severe concussion”—and insisted that “I don’t need sympathy, I just don’t want this happening to anyone else. I just want this person to get help, my kids deserve better.”
Making this revelation even more shocking was a series of bruised, battered, and bloodied images that Johnson posted documenting her injuries, in addition to a heartbreaking video of her son on Facetime detailing what he had allegedly witnessed.
“Daddy choked mommy,” the child explains. He then goes on to reveal that during the violent dispute between his parents, Bridges threw Johnson’s phone out the window—presumably to prevent her from getting the type of help that would put the budding NBA superstar behind bars.
What Miles Bridges did is deplorable. Completely unacceptable. Hornets need to sever ties immediately. The aftermath will linger, but that has to happen today.
— Sean O'Connell (@Sean_OConnell) July 1, 2022
I never want to see Miles Bridges play another game.
What he did to that woman, his WIFE, is unspeakable. It’s “not on the NBA” to punish players, so fine then, cut him out. There’s no place for this in any walk of life.
It’s about time we start taking this seriously.
— Mark Schindler (@MG_Schindler) July 1, 2022
Naturally, this disturbing ordeal has made Bridges’ potential suitors reluctant to offer a lucrative contract. But that decision shouldn’t be based on salary cap hits or the toil of navigating the league’s personal conduct policy. It should be rooted in basic human decency—and a refusal to employ or be associated with any player who would physically or sexually harm another human being despite their ability to throw touchdowns, hit home runs, or dunk a basketball. And while this isn’t the first time that I’ve addressed domestic violence in professional sports, this is one of the rare occasions in which the NBA—as a respectable business entity with a relatively pristine reputation—finds itself at a pivotal crossroads.
Miles Bridges has proven himself to be a coward who has desecrated the sanctity of his home, his family, and in turn, his own flesh and blood. As his wife courageously stated, “it’s unethical, it’s immoral, it’s truly SICK” that she’s been silenced for so long and put in a position to “continue to lie to protect this person.” So if she can muster the extraordinary degree of courage that it took to expose this monster for who he truly is, instead of seizing this opportunity to sign another talented forward on the cheap, NBA execs should heed her testimony and prohibit him from ever touching an NBA court again.