Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of domestic assault, strangulation, and kidnapping. Prosecutors allege that Bird strangled his girlfriend, a college student, a dozen times during the altercation.
"Bird allegedly dragged the victim by the ankles away from a door when she tried to leave".
Bird was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, and was being "guarded" by the police while there.
Bird also is accused of throwing the victim against the wall of his apartment, kicking her repeatedly in the stomach after she regained consciousness and trapping her inside a bathroom.
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".
CBS Boston reported that Bird's agent insisted posting an all-cash bail was "ridiculous", but the Brighton Municipal Court only accepts cash, so this was not a special condition applied only to Bird.More news: Roberto Firmino: Liverpool striker 'OK' after eye 'scare'
Bird, who pleaded not guilty, was released on $50,000 bail, and he is set to appear in court again October 25, nine days after Boston tips off its regular season.
An attorney for Bird did not dispute the specific allegations at the hearing, but he told the judge that there are "always two sides to every story". "The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird", the team said. "I apologize to my family, the Celtics organization, my teammates, the fans and the National Basketball Association for the unnecessary distraction that I have caused".
"I do not condone violence against women", he said.
It is unclear whether or not Bird will remain in custody at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, where he has been since apprehended, make bail, or be moved to a detention facility. 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 Celtics drafted Bird with the 56th pick in the 2017 draft. He played in 13 games during his rookie season, averaging 3.3 points over 8.8 minutes per game.