Former Red Claws player Jabari Bird faces assault, strangulation charges

Tanya Simon
September 16, 2018

Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird entered a not guilty plea yesterday to charges of domestic assault, strangulation and kidnapping. Prosecutors allege that Bird strangled his girlfriend, a college student, a dozen times during the altercation.

According to reports, Bird's girlfriend says he detained her for four hours on Friday afternoon in their Brighton apartment.

At the arraignment, Bird was charged with assault and battery with a unsafe weapon, assault and battery of a family or household member, kidnapping and strangulation, following his arrest over the weekend.

In a statement Thursday, Bird apologized to his teammates and fans for creating an "unnecessary distraction" and said he's taking time away to deal with "legal and medical issues".

Bird, 24, is being held on a $100,000 bail, $50,000 of which must be paid in cash. He allegedly dragged the victim by the ankles when she tried to leave the apartment.

At the arraignment, one of Bird's attorneys, Brian T. Kelly, said there are "always two sides" to incidents, but acknowledged his client understands the "seriousness of the allegations".

He is apologizing to his family, the Celtics, his teammates, fans and the National Basketball Association "for the unnecessary distraction that I have caused".

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The dual Nigerian and British national did not initially comment on the claims, leading to criticism from her opponents.

'The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird, ' the team said in a statement.

Bird was arraigned Thursday after being arrested last Friday on a number of charges. "The information that has been released does not tell the full story. I am hopeful that in due time and process, I will be able to regain everyone's trust". Authorities also said that he threatened to kill himself in a text message to the woman.

The team notes that domestic violence issues are handled by the NBA's main office.

Bird was transferred Saturday to an undisclosed hospital for what police have called an "evaluation" that continued until Thursday when it appeared doctors treating him had concluded he was sufficently healthy to appear in court.

Boston selected Bird with the 58th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Bird also played 13 games for Boston, averaging 3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 8.8 minutes per game.

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