Sports Nut

This Bar Fight Is Under Review

How the NBA would evaluate Draymond Green’s alleged slap at an East Lansing watering hole.

Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors’ groin-mangling power forward Draymond Green was arrested early Sunday morning in East Lansing, Michigan, for allegedly assaulting someone outside a bar. According to the police report, published here by Deadspin, Green is accused of hitting Michigan State football player Jermaine Edmondson. The report also indicates that the two had argued the night before the alleged assault.

MLive reports that “Green faces maximum penalties of a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.” But let’s forget the criminal justice system for a minute. Back in May, the Warriors star was fined $25,000 by the NBA for kicking the Thunder’s Steven Adams in the downtown business district. In June, he was suspended for one game after tapping the Cavs’ LeBron James in the testicles. So, how would the NBA’s discipline czar Kiki Vandeweghe rule on this latest incident? Let’s take a closer look at the police report and the official NBA rule book.

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Friday night: Edmondson says Green bumped into him at a bar called Rick’s. The football player claims he turned around and told his basketball counterpart, “Hey bro, you can at least say excuse me.” Green then allegedly asked Edmondson’s teammate who the football player was, to which Edmondson replied, “Don’t worry about who I am.” In his written statement, Edmondson said Green responded: “I pay for n—as like you scholarships.” (Green, a Michigan State alum, has donated millions of dollars to the school’s athletic department.)

Ruling: We’re going to call technical fouls on both men under Rule 12A(V)(d)(7): unsportsmanlike conduct, taunting. No reason to get chippy here—let’s keep it clean, fellas. For both, this is the first technical foul of the 2016 East Lansing summer bar-fight season. As first offenders, they will each face a fine of $2,000.

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Early Sunday morning: From the arresting officer’s account:

On the date and time indicated, I was standing on the west side of Abbott next to the old MSUFCU watching Conrad’s as the bars were closing for the night.

All of the sudden myself and Officer Horn heard a loud slap. I could immediately see the crowd disperse into two sides as Green went one way and Edmondson went the other way.

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In Edmondson’s written statement, he alleges that Green “walk[ed] all the way across the line to look my girlfriend up and down and [smirk] at her.” He then claims that he told Green “that last night wasn’t cool,” at which point the Warriors player allegedly poked him on the shoulder, then punched him in the jaw. The arrest report notes that after Green was handcuffed, he said “he was sorry for slapping the subject and wanted to speak with him to make things right.”

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Ruling: No foul on Edmondson. Given that Green reportedly admitted to slapping Edmondson, we have no choice but to remove him from the watering hole, as Rule 12A(V)(l)(1) stipulates that a player, coach, or trainer “must be ejected for … a punching foul.”

What about additional punishment? The NBA’s 2015-16 case book includes a short section headlined “Punching,” but none of the specific examples—for instance, “Player A1 has been awarded two free-throw attempts. During the dead ball, he punches Player B1. What is the correct ruling and how is the ball put into play?”—seem operative here.

The 2013-14 case book, though, does have a scenario that’s kind of analogous: “Player A3 takes a swing (not a punch) at Player B3 and hits him in the shoulder. How is this handled?”

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The answer: Player A3 (Green) is assessed a flagrant foul 2. According to Rule 12B(IV)(b), a flagrant foul 2 consists of “unnecessary and excessive” contact against a fellow player. A less severe flagrant foul 1, by contrast, is just “unnecessary” contact. Given that an East Lansing police officer claims he could hear the slap, “unnecessary and excessive” seems like an appropriate description.

The “Comments on the Rules” section spells out the penalty for a flagrant 2: “The offender will be subject to a fine not exceeding $50,000 and/or suspension by the Commissioner.” Green was fined $25,000 for kicking Adams in the groin. This seems like a roughly equivalent infraction, which means the state of Michigan is leaving $24,500 on the table by capping its penalty at $500. Green was also suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals after hitting LeBron’s undercarriage; that suspension came about because he accumulated four “flagrant foul points” during the playoffs. As this was Green’s first fracas of the 2016 East Lansing summer bar-fight season, he now has two flagrant foul points. He will not be suspended.

Final penalties:

Jermaine Edmondson: $2,000 fine, no suspension

Draymond Green: $27,000 in fines, no suspension

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