The statistics are staggering. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20 people per minute are physically abused in the United States by an intimate partner; one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetimes; and on average, domestic violence hotlines receive 20,000 calls per day.
And on it goes. The hitting. The slapping. The fear. The injuries. In the worse cases, the deaths.
Kings veteran guard Darren Collison has delved into the issue the same way he prepares for games. He studies the numbers, examines the tendencies, comes up with what he hopes will be the appropriate response.
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But there are no excuses, and he knows this, too.
Collison, who pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor domestic battery last month, was sentenced to three years probation and 20 days in an alternative sentencing program for an incident at his Granite Bay home in May. On Sunday, the NBA suspended him for the first eight games of the regular season, which will cost him almost $400,000 in salary, but the penalty could have been significantly harsher.
Just accept responsibility. Have a sense of humility and go from there. Anybody that has a sense of backlash … I understand, but I know my situation. I know exactly what happened. I just have to move forward, accept it and go on from there.
Darren Collison, Kings guard
“These are serious matters,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said after practice Monday. “It goes against all the values our organization wants to represent. But I think it’s fair. The (Placer County District Attorney’s Office) did their investigation and made their decision, and the league did their own investigation as well. And the fact Darren cooperated right from the start, I believe, really helped him.”
Collison, 29, accepted responsibility and expressed remorse following his arrest. According to three separate parties familiar with the investigations – and probably the reason the league’s punishment was more lenient than some expected – he never struck his wife.
The Collisons have been in therapy since the incident.
“Just accept responsibility,” Collison said. “Have a sense of humility and go from there. Anybody that has a sense of backlash … I understand, but I know my situation. I know exactly what happened. I just have to move forward, accept it and go on from there. The NBA did what they had to do.”
Before the NBA determined the length of the suspension, the Collisons met separately and jointly with Commissioner Adam Silver and league officials in New York. Silver then enlisted a panel of domestic violence experts who recommended a penalty based on, among other things, Collison’s behavior, response and reputation.
Darren is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.
Bill Portanova, Darren Collison’s attorney
No one contacted Monday within the organization or the league was willing to address the specifics of the case, but there is little doubt Collison’s reputation worked in his favor. The UCLA graduate and eight-year pro is highly regarded by coaches, teammates and franchise officials in Sacramento and his previous tenures in New Orleans, Indiana, Dallas and Los Angeles (Clippers).
Collison’s attorney, Bill Portanova, also spoke highly of his client and noted his previously unblemished record.
“I’ve been doing this for 35 years,” Portanova said Monday, “and handled domestic violence cases from both sides of the courtroom. I was a state prosecutor for 20 years and then a federal prosecutor, and I have never had a client who was more open and more honest from the beginning. Darren is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.”
Key dates for Kings
- Today: First preseason game, vs. L.A. Lakers, Anaheim, 7 p.m.
- Monday: First home preseason game, vs. Maccabi Haifa, 7:30 p.m.
- Oct. 26: First regular-season game, at Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.
- Oct. 27: First home regular-season game, vs. San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.