Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird strangled a woman at least a dozen times over a four-hour period last Friday, prosecutors alleged at an arraignment hearing Thursday.
Celtics’ Jabari Bird arrested in alleged assault
Celtics guard Jabari Bird was arrested Friday for alleged assault, strangling and kidnapping, according to Boston police.
According to prosecutors, the woman told police that Bird strangled her and threw her against a wall after they got into an argument at Bird’s residence. She said Bird would strangle her until she went “limp,” allow her to catch her breath and begin choking her again.
She also said that Bird kicked her multiple times in the stomach and dragged her away from the door when she tried to leave, before shutting her into a bathroom.
The woman told police she was able to leave after Bird passed out with “seizure-like” symptoms.
At the arraignment, Bird was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery of a family or household member, kidnapping and strangulation, following his arrest over the weekend.
Bird pleaded not guilty at the hearing and is being held on $50,000 bond. His next court date is set for Oct. 25.
Bird’s lawyer, former federal prosecutor Brian Kelly, said his client “understands the seriousness of the allegations” but that there are two sides to the story.
“I’m taking some time away from the team as I deal with my legal and medical issues,” Bird said via statement. “I apologize to my family, the Celtics organization, my teammates, the fans and the NBA for the unnecessary distraction that I have caused. The information that has been released does not tell the full story. I do not condone violence against women. I am hopeful that in due time and process, I will be able to regain everyone’s trust.”
The Celtics addressed Thursday’s hearing in a statement, saying the matter will be handled by the NBA rather than the team.
“Most importantly, our thoughts are with the victim of this incident. The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird,” the team said. “Pursuant to Domestic Violence Policy in the NBA’s labor agreement, matters of this kind are handled by the League Office, not the team, and so 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.”
Bird had been held at a local hospital for evaluation, which delayed the arraignment hearing to Thursday.
The Celtics drafted Bird with the 56th pick in the 2017 draft. The shooting guard spent his rookie season on a two-way contract before being signed to the active roster this summer.
If the Celtics were to waive Bird, they would have to pay his guaranteed $1.35 million salary for this season. By allowing the league to handle the matter, his contract could potentially be voided, depending on how the legal proceedings play out. For a Celtics team near the luxury tax line, those savings could be substantial, particularly if they were to sign a player to replace Bird on the roster.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.