Monday, May 23, 2016

Draymond Green and the "kick"

It was certainly the buzz in the sports world. During Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals, while Golden State was being blown out by Oklahoma City, Green managed to give Thunder big man Steven Adams a resounding kick to his groin area.

Then came the tricky parts. Was it a flagrant 1 foul? Flagrant 2 which would require an immediate ejection from the game? The on-court officials reviewed the replay and came to the conclusion it was a flagrant 1. A couple of free throws and possession for the Thunder. Then play on. Green could continue.

But two things happened shortly thereafter. The media went berserk showing replays and offering up various opinions, and the league office would review the incident to determine if further punishment was warranted -- perhaps a suspension.

All day Monday the debate raged on among the talking heads. Was it intentional? Not? It's impossible to know what was going through Green's head at the time. Only he knows for sure, and he emphatically denied any intent to injure. In fact, he said he wasn't even aware he had made such "contact".

GS head coach Steve Kerr went on record saying such "oopsies" happen all the time during the course of games and thought even the flagrant 1 call should be rescinded. Of course, Adams and his Thunder teammates saw things quite differently.

Then the wait was on while the league office thoroughly deliberated the matter. Would they suspend Green for a game? Hour after hour went by and still no answer. The TV folks beat the story to death while waiting with bated breath for a verdict.

Finally it came. The league ruled Green should have been hit with a flagrant 2 at the time and ejected from the game. At that point in the contest, it mattered little anyway. The Warriors were being thrashed. Green or no Green for the remainder of the game, they had long since been doomed to defeat.

Yet another subplot was in play as well for the league to consider. If they suspended Green (a star player) for Game 4 in Okieland, the odds went up the Thunder would roll to another easy victory, thus putting the Warriors in a seemingly insurmountable predicament of being down 1-3. True, OKC may very well defeat GS in Game 4 even WITH Green on the court. Or maybe not. It's difficult to count the Warriors out until and unless they ARE out. They could very well roar back to even the series. After all, they haven't lost consecutive games all year long, including in the playoffs.

Though they will never admit it, the NBA disciplinary honchos were likely mindful of the fact they didn't want to do anything "drastic" which might fairly (or not) hamper a team's chances.

So what they wound up doing was basically sitting on their hands, or offering up window dressing at best. Upgrading a flagrant 1 to flagrant 2 after the game is over, but not issuing a suspension amounts to the proverbial much ado about nothing. It took their "brain trust" all day to come up with a "non answer"?

One is free to believe Draymond Green should or should not have been suspended for a game. Opinions will certainly vary. But the $25,000 fine that was handed down as "punishment" was an insult to our collective intelligence, sorry as it may be. Fining a guy who making almost $15,000,000 this year a measly 25 grand does not even constitute a slap on the wrist. Sure, to the average John/Jane Doe, 25K is a lot of money. But to a guy with a guaranteed long term contract that will fetch him over 82 MILLION, it's chump change.

If a guy was guilty of an egregious infraction, bang him hard. If not, let it slide. But for the league to try to justify what they did as "proper punishment" is a joke.

Here's an interesting scenario to consider. Suppose it wasn't Draymond Green doing the kicking into Steven Adams' nether region -- accidental or not. Suppose instead it was an end of the bench opposing player that did the exact same thing to, say, Lebron James, or Steph Curry. Would the "punishment", or lack thereof, have come down the same way from the league offices to the "offender"?

Somehow I think not. Supposedly, as players, they should all be treated equally in such cases.

Yet methinks some players are more "equal" than others. It's not right, but it's definitely real......

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