When news first broke that the NBA might not suspend Draymond Green for stepping on Domantas Sabonis during Game 2, many people were surprised. However, the league eventually decided to hand down a one-game suspension to the forward. As a result, Green won’t be able to play in the Golden State Warriors’ first home game of the series against the Sacramento Kings. This could make it more challenging for the Warriors to recover from their 2-0 deficit.
Opinions were sharply divided regarding whether Draymond Green’s actions constituted a step or a stomp. Some people believed that Domantas Sabonis had grabbed Green’s leg, while others thought that Sabonis had wrapped his arms around Green in an attempt to protect himself.
Numerous NBA players pointed out that they believed Draymond Green had nowhere else to step, and that the flagrant 2 foul (which led to his automatic ejection) was too harsh.
In the end, Draymond Green was suspended. However, regardless of whether or not you agree with the decision, it set a worrisome precedent.
NBA sets a precedent with Draymond Green suspension that isn’t good for league
Here’s the press release that the NBA put out announcing Green’s one-game suspension:
The following was released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/KEnWx2qTvs
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 19, 2023
Here’s the relevant portion (emphasis my own):
It’s no secret that Green has been at the center of controversy over “dirty” plays and fouls before. There are YouTube compilations of the various times he’s been in-view for that. To start this season, even, he was suspended for punching his own teammate in a practice.
Some might justify his actions as the other side of the coin of positive traits — high energy, intense competitor, etc. — but it’s hard to suggest that he doesn’t have a history of acting this way.
But this suspension should have been about one thing: Draymond Green stepping on Domantas Sabonis. Did that, by itself, warrant a suspension? If not, keep it moving. If so, suspend him.
Bringing events outside of the flagrant foul — and outside of this series and playoff run, too — in question into the equation is unfair to Green, the Warriors, and the competition at hand between Sacramento and Golden State.
For what it’s worth, I fully support a suspension and thought he deserved one upon first view of the “stomp”, and especially felt that way after an alternative angle painted a different picture than was shown on the national broadcast. But I think the stomp on its own was worth a suspension.
Now, the NBA has opened up a can of worms in the way of a precedent. The league has now made it clear that they’ll consider a player’s history when ruminating over disciplinary matters.
If that’s the case, what’s the point of a “clean slate” on flagrant fouls when the playoffs start?
The NBA got this one right in the end, but not without compromising its long-term disciplinary precedents.