Jason Kidd’s Hiring Shows NBA’s Continued Failure on Domestic Violence

Jason Kidd received another NBA coaching job, even with his long history of domestic violence. He is just one example of a systemic NBA failure.

Last weekend the Los Angeles Lakers officially hired Frank Vogel as their head coach. It brings a bookend to one of the most chaotic stretches in franchise history. The hiring raises more questions going forward. Vogel enters an organization with no clear leader and faces a long list of challenges. Vogel’s top assistant coach, Jason Kidd, tops that list.

Kidd interviewed for the Lakers head coaching job early in the process. While Kidd never received an offer, he impressed Lakers brass enough that they required his inclusion on the next staff. The media and others around the league have focused on the organizational disarray in Los Angeles.

Coverage of the continued opportunities for people accused of violence against women, however, remains absent. Jason Kidd has a history that includes domestic violence. In 2001, Kidd accepted a plea agreement in order to avoid jail time for striking his then-wife, Joumana Kidd. The couple filed for divorce in 2007 and, during litigation, Joumana accused Kidd of years of violent abuse alongside cheating, gambling, and alcoholism.

The NBA would say they have evolved since then. In 2017, the NBA instituted a new policy on domestic, sexual, and child abuse credited for taking productive steps. But while the NBA may have created a progressive framework for dealing with these issues, commissioner Adam Silver has yet to use it.

- Advertisement - 

In the past month, the NFL and MLB have faced criticism surrounding the leagues’ and teams’ handling of abuse cases. The Chicago Cubs welcomed shortstop Addison Russell back onto the diamond after serving a 40-game suspension for repeated abuse of his ex-wife. The NFL and Kansas City Chiefs have yet to address audio recordings of wide receiver Tyreek Hill and his ex-girlfriend, in which Hill admits to physically abusing his child and girlfriend.

Both leagues and organizations have been lambasted. Russell faced boos from his home fans in his first game back. The NFL continues to face criticism for their silence, and they deserve it. Society deserves it. Perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence continue to receive support from sizable portions of the population. Too many people are unwilling to acknowledge that these actions are common and deserve consequences.

The NBA has been lauded recently, especially in contrast with the NFL, as an organization truly progressive on social justice. Last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he hoped half of all NBA coaches and referees would be women. But just two days later, Kidd was hired by one of the league’s most storied franchises. While there have been some minor stories on Kidd’s past, the overall coverage remains basketball-centric.

The NBA has dodged this PR bullet before on these issues. Derrick Rose spent the last season celebrated for “overcoming” a gang rape allegation. Many defended Rose after a jury acquitted him of legal liability, but a number of facts suggest he shouldn’t have been. Moreover, most fans seem unaware of the list of players with past incidents of domestic and sexual abuse.

The most heinous recent example revolves around former Celtics guard Jabari Bird, who was arrested last September on counts of strangling, kicking, and throwing his girlfriend. While the Celtics quietly traded Bird to the Atlanta Hawks, who immediately waived him, the league never formally punished Bird. It does appear that teams made the collective decision that he didn’t belong on a roster, but shouldn’t the league have taken that choice out of their hands?

Bird was a late second-round draft pick who had played less than 120 unremarkable NBA minutes. Had his talent been on another level, would teams have done the same? History says no. Darren Collison, after all, has had no problems finding jobs after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assaulting his wife in 2016.

Let’s also not forget that the Dallas Mavericks were exposed as a toxic work environment for women just a year ago. Yes, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban acknowledged incompetence, swearing organizational transformation, but it’s hard not to wonder if other franchises face the same issues and if change is as easy as Cuban suggested.

The league once again needs to investigate and act after separate accusations against Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton and Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis. The NBA says they are taking time with the allegations and have yet to make any decisions.

Perhaps officials will conclude exhaustive investigations and take these cases seriously. However, that would require a full-scale reexamination of many people around the league, including the organization that feels Jason Kidd is fit to lead. Recent history doesn’t leave a lot of room for hope.

Both fans and the media need to call out these failures. The NBA and its players have earned rightful praise for their work on many issues, but this cannot excuse the league’s decisions to ignore sexual and domestic violence victims.

Marc Delucchi
Marc Delucchihttp://marcdelucchipoet.weebly.com
Marc Delucchi is a writer for Grandstand Central. He's a former baseball, basketball, and volleyball player who grew up in Mililani, Hawaii. Marc also works as a contributor for Around the Foghorn, an amateur baseball scout for Evolution Metrix, and a broadcaster for Kenyon College.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


The Latest

NFL Vernon Davis acting career after football.

Vernon Davis on Football, Acting, and Life Beyond the Gridiron

Vernon Davis is no longer just a retired NFL tight end. Now he’s an actor, a producer, an entrepreneur, and more. Davis tells all in a sprawling interview.
cupping therapy

What is “cupping therapy” and does it actually work?

Cupping therapy came into the public eye when Olympian Michael Phelps was seen with circular bruise-type marks on his scapula (shoulder blade), neck, and shoulder. 

U.S. Women’s Soccer Wouldn’t Be Where it is Today without Jill Ellis

Jill Ellis has the most successful coaching career in all soccer history and after two consecutive World Cups, she's saying goodbye.
wendy hilliard gymnastics

Wendy Hilliard On Making Gymnastics Accessible

Plus, the meaning of life after sports.

The Rise of Major League Eating, America’s New Favorite Pastime

Major League Eating made competitive eating a successful, nation-wide sport and it all trails back to a hot dog eating contest from way back when.
Art Shamsky Amazin' Mets

Art Shamsky on Aging and the Amazin’ Mets

Plus, his thoughts on the Hall and missing out on the Big Red Machine.