Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green was not suspended by the NBA for kicking Oklahoma City Thunder’s Steven Adams in the groin in game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series, which understandably left a lot of Thunder fans upset. With Green avoiding suspension, the Warriors were online NBA sportsbook odds favorites to win game 4.
One of the people who wasn’t happy with the league’s decision not to suspend Green was the NBA's former head of discipline Stu Jackson.
Jackson, who was the man in charge of handing down discipline under former commissioner David Stern, said that the league was “dead wrong” for not suspending Green. Jackson believes that the league sent the wrong message by not suspending Green, and basketball fans will think the league is playing favorites.
In an appearance on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, Jackson said it felt like the league was backed into making a desirable decision because not having Green in the lineup would have left the Warriors short-handed.
Jackson also wondered if the league used different rules for different players. Jackson said that if the kick to the groin happened when he was in charge of player discipline, he would have upgraded Green’s flagrant foul to a penalty 2, which would have been an automatic one-game suspension.
Jackson said that when it came to reviewing fouls like that, there are six criteria that are looked at before coming to a decision. In this case, Green’s kick to the groin met four of the six criteria. However, it is important to note that a person’s intent is not one of the criteria.
The criteria that Jackson used are listed below:
* How severe was the contact?
* Was the action reckless or was the player making a basketball play?
* Was there a windup and follow through with the play after the contact was made?
* Was there potential for injury?
* Did the contact result in injury?
* Did it lead to further conflict?
While intent isn’t included in his criteria, Jackson said it wasn’t needed in this situation because the act meets four of the six criteria.
When asked if the fact that Green was a star and the teams were playing in the conference finals would impact any disciplinary decision he would have made if he was in charge of discipline, Jackson said it would not because he believes that player safety comes first.
However, Jackson doesn’t believe that NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Kiki Vandeweghe, who is now in charge of player discipline put the players’ safety first.
Jackson said that the league’s ruling on the Green situation leads him to believe that there is a double standard in the NBA. Jackson said he has seen examples of different punishments for the same offense during the playoffs, which concerns him.
Even before Silver became the new commissioner, the NBA has been accused of playing favorites with its biggest stars. However, Jackson said that wasn’t the case under his supervision.
Interestingly, Jackson was in charge of player discipline in 2013 when Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka swung his arm and hit Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin in the groin. In that situation, Jackson upgraded Ibaka’s flagrant foul to a flagrant-2, fined him $25,000, but did not suspend him.
Jackson did exactly what Kiki Vandeweghe did on Monday.