Reports: Celtics' Jabari Bird was receiving mental health treatment before domestic violence arrest

Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird, shown here at his arraignment last week, was reportedly seeking treatment for emotional issues before allegedly attacking his girlfriend on Sept. 7. (AP)
Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird, shown here at his arraignment last week, was reportedly seeking treatment for emotional issues before allegedly attacking his girlfriend on Sept. 7. (AP)

Before a horrific domestic violence allegation earlier this month, Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird was receiving treatment for mental health issues, according to reports by the Boston Herald and ESPN.

Trying to address emotional issues

Bird was trying to address emotional issues before the alleged incident with his girlfriend, which occurred on Sept. 7. ESPN reported that the 24-year-old had been receiving treatment with the help of a Celtics doctor, and that medication could have played a role in the alleged attack.

One Boston Herald source said Bird had been experiencing “panic attacks and things like that. It wasn’t a long-term thing, but everyone knew. The Celtics knew there was something going on and he was being treated.”

Those who knew about Bird’s issues, however didn’t expect things to play out as they did, with Bird allegedly attacking his girlfriend.

“This wasn’t one of the domestic violence situations you usually see, where someone gets jealous for one thing and loses control,” a second source told the Herald. “There was something deeper going on here with [Bird]. This was a bad situation.”

Bird underwent a psychiatric evaluation for several days after his arrest.

Strangled at least 12 times in four hours

Bird was arraigned last Thursday, charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery of a family or household member, kidnapping and strangulation.

He pleaded not guilty at the hearing and is being held on $50,000 bond.

Prosecutors allege that Bird kept his girlfriend against her will for four hours at their apartment in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston. During that time, he strangled her around a dozen times, including once until she lost consciousness, and repeatedly kicked her.

The woman tried hiding under a bed and in a locked bathroom, and when she tried to escape, he allegedly dragged her back into the apartment by her ankles.

The woman said she escaped after Bird had “seizure-like symptoms” and passed out. She moved him to a bed and left in a friend’s car. When Bird regained consciousness, he allegedly sent her a text threatening to kill himself if she didn’t return to the apartment.

‘Taking some time away’

Bird spent last year, his rookie season, with the Maine Red Claws of the G League as well as the Celtics. He played in 13 games with Boston, with one start.

But Bird seemingly has much bigger things to address right now than his basketball career. He released a statement last week in which he said he would be taking some time away, though he did not mention or apologize to his alleged victim.

“I’m taking some time away from the team as I deal with my legal and medical issues. 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 statement said.

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