Yesterday, the NBA decided not to suspend Draymond Green for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals for his viral groin kick on Oklahoma City Center Steven Adams. The media and public are outraged.
In his opening rant today, Colin said rules aren’t enforced equally for stars, and they shouldn’t be. Suspending Green would have a negative impact on the series. That’s bad for the NBA.
“This rule allows wiggle room. Allows debate. And when a league is allowed to debate and argue, they should absolutely err on the side of don’t kick star players out.”
Stars are always treated differently. In his first year with Dallas, Cowboys Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson cut a marginal player for falling asleep during a meeting. When asked what he would do if his starting quarterback Troy Aikman fell asleep in a meeting, Johnson said, “That’s easy. I’d have gone over and said, ‘Troy, wake up.’”
Critics of the NBA’s decision with Green are hypocritical. In Game 6 of the 2007 Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Spurs, Phoenix Suns star Amare Stoudemire briefly left the Phoenix bench when a scuffle broke out. The NBA strictly followed its rule and suspended him for Game 7.
The Suns lost the game and the series. Stoudemire’s absence was a significant factor in the Suns’ loss. The NBA was roundly criticized by league owners and the media for not making an exception to the rule. Colin noted the hypocrisy.
“Pick a lane Gert. Do you want to follow the rules, or do you not want to follow the rules? Because when the NBA followed the rules. The owners didn’t like it. The fans didn’t like it. Respected members of the media said, ‘Come on. It’s “spirit of the rule” here. Just upgrade the fine.’
That’s what they did yesterday. And that’s what I think they should’ve done. They realized, don’t screw with a series.”
In making its decision with Green, the NBA had to consider more than just following its rules to the letter of the law. They had to consider their billion-dollar TV contracts, and relationships with advertisers.
“If you give me as a commissioner, or a vice president of punishment, wiggle room, I’m wiggling for my TV partners. I’m wiggling for better product. I’m wiggling for players stay on the court. I’m wiggling for the stars are on the court at 8 Eastern [EST].”
No matter what decision the NBA made, there would be critics. But, the NBA product will be better when Draymond Green is on the court tonight in the most significant game of the NBA Playoffs this year.
“The league can’t win. Letter of the law. Not letter of the law. Protecting stars. Not protecting stars. They can’t win. I totally agree with what they did yesterday.”