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Sanctions Imposed On Draymond Green Miss the Mark

What Message Does it Send?

Under California Penal Code § 240 PC--California Assault Law-- an assault is the unlawful attempt, along with the present ability to cause violent injury to another person. Simple assault is a [standard] misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. In California, if an offender successfully completes a diversion program, the case will be dismissed.

Why am I telling you this? It’s because these are the penalties under the law that should be charged against Golden State Warriors player, Draymond Green. My view is that he should be suspended for the rest of this NBA year, including the playoffs, and be required to undergo a diversion program, which should include psychological counseling. Green should also be told that if he repeats the offending behavior that is discussed below, he will be permanently banned from the NBA.

Green is not new to technical fouls, disqualifications, fines, and ejections. His fines total $ 1.45 million. Yes, that’s millions. This figure results from 163 technical fouls and 18 ejections. Just imagine if someone committed the crimes described below in society. My guess is they would (or should) be serving jail time to teach them a lesson. As discussed below, Green has committed three assault-like attacks on three other players in just the last three months.

Maybe you think this is too harsh a penalty, well just watch this video (

Still not convinced, well consider the following:

Back in October 2022, Green violently attacked fellow team player, Jordan Poole, viciously punching him to the ground right in the middle of a team practice. Earlier, after a round of trash-talking, Poole had pushed Green away and Green responded by punching Poole to the ground. The S.F. Police Department said it was not investigating the incident and was not involved in the matter.

The Warriors wound up trading Poole, a player who played an important role off the bench in their 2022 championship and was the team's third-leading scorer in 2022-23 with an average of 20.4 points per game. Golden State even made a big commitment to him with a four-year, $128.0 million extension.

This action basically rewarded bad behavior. What signal does this send to youngsters, who are just learning the game and may like Green, when the owner of the club, Joe Lacob, explains in trading Poole to the Wahington Wizards, that Poole and Green “could have co-existed in the team, the NBA salary cap pretty much forced their hand to choose one or the other.” This is nothing more than a rationalization for an unethical action by Warriors management in letting Green get away with yet another instance of abusive behavior towards another player. In a sense, they rewarded bad behavior by trading Poole.

In November 2022, Green had an altercation with Rudy Golbert of the Minnesota Timberwolves, following an altercation that broke out when Warriors guard, Klay Thompson, and Minnesota forward, Jaden McDaniels, got into a scuffle. Green barged in and put Gobert in a headlock. He was suspended for five games by the NBA, way too short a time and, perhaps, that is why Green continues assaulting other players. He can handle a five-game suspension.

The latest incident occurred just a few days ago on December 12, when Green committed another dirty play clubbing Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nuric in the head. Green was called for a flagrant foul and ejected. The video shows Green hitting Nuric with a swinging arm.

Green apologized to Nuric for the incident after the game, saying that he wasn’t trying to hit him, he was trying to “sell” a foul call. Specifically, he said: “As you know, I’m not one to apologize for things that I meant to do, but I do apologize to Jusuf because I didn’t intend to hit him. Green

No one should conclude that Green wants to be a role model. Anyone who sees the video should know that the clubbing was not accidental. He swung his arm with force to the head of Nuric. The only thing Green is sorry for is getting caught. A skeptic might say that he relishes these moments as an “enforcer” and bad boy of the NBA, patterning himself after those who held such “honors” in the past such as Rasheed Wallace and Dennis Rodman.

No one can say that Green is not a talented player. He was recognized as the top defender in the league for the 2017 season, winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. One of his strong points is distributing the ball and setting up others on the team to score.

I was hoping the Warriors’ management would send a strong signal to Green that his continuing behavior is unacceptable and if he does so again, he will be permanently suspended. He’s already has had his three strikes-- and then you’re out.

Superstar Stephen Curry was quoted as saying: “He can’t do what he’s been doing, and he knows that” … “Everybody has their mountains to climb, and Draymond’s are his, and I’m confident that he can get over the hump, however long it takes for him to get there.”

The Warriors’ management has been quoted as saying that “Draymond Green needs serious help to stop the increasingly frequent outbursts in his long history of unsportsmanlike behavior.” Coach Steve Kerr and general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. are hopeful Green’s indefinite suspension for hitting Nurkic in the face will provide the time and motivation for their star forward to make real progress on the mental and emotional challenges that led him to this grim point in a decorated career.

Mike Dunleavy repeatedly said the Warriors will “help” Green during his absence but didn’t specify the nature of that aid. Steve Kerr said Green will get counseling from professionals outside the team to identify the reasons behind his escalating series of physical outbursts.

Dunleavy said that “Green is at a point in his career and his life where we want to get some things straightened out, and maybe sometimes you need a jolt like that.”

“He’s been here for a long time,” Dunleavy said of Green. “He’s hung a ton of banners and means so much to this organization. I think this is about turning this thing into a positive and getting better. I think that happens, and we feel really good. Like I said, his play has been terrific. It’s just his lack of availability that’s not been great, and we want to make that better.”

“The whole key for me is what this can do for his life long-term,” Kerr said. “I want him to be happy. I want him to reap the rewards of an incredible career and legacy, and I want him to finish that career in a really wonderful, dignified manner. This guy is one of the great winners of all time, one of the great competitors of all time, but he’s crossed the line. He knows that. He knows he needs help, and he’s going to get that help, and we’re going to help him with it.”

This sounds like two people excusing the bad behavior of a child, but then again perhaps Green’s emotional development is that of someone well below his age. He can’t seem to hold his anger inside and self-correct before he commits another outburst.

No one knows what triggers his behavior. What is known is he is a persistent offender. In the Criminal Justice System Statistics quarterly publication, a persistent offender is an offender with 8 or more previous convictions or cautions. In most analyses, an offender with 15 or more previous sanctions is considered a prolific offender.

Rasheed Wallace is still the NBA's all-time leader with 29 ejections, but Draymond Green is closing in with 18 after he was tossed for hitting Nurkic on the head in last Tuesday's game against the Phoenix Suns. He’s 33 years old and, if he is not permanently suspended, then he’ll probably play another 6 or 7 years, more than enough time to become the NBA’s worst persistent violator of all time.

Posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on December 19, 2023. You can sign up for his newsletter and learn more about his activities at: Follow him on LinkedIn at: