The defending World Champion Golden State Warriors are looking to repeat as NBA champions, but first, they have to deal with infighting within the team. During a recent practice, a video emerged of Warriors star Draymond Green getting into an altercation with teammate Jordan Poole that has sparked reactions from fans questioning Green and his role within the Warriors.
The video, obtained by TMZ, appears to show Green and Poole exchanging words with one another across the court. Draymond then walks over to Poole and gets in his face, continuing to exchange words. Poole then shoves Green, angering him and leading to Green throwing several violent punches at Poole that knocked him to the ground, forcing teammates to separate the two as Green continued to go at Poole.
Green took several days away from the team in the midst of the controversy, and upon his return, he issued an apology to Poole and the Warriors regarding the incident:
“I was wrong for my actions.... There’s a huge embarrassment that comes with [this]. Not only for myself, as I was the one who committed this action… but the embarrassment that Jordan has to deal with and that this team has to deal with.”
In the aftermath of the scuffle, there have been wide-ranging reactions from the sports world. Many have called for Green to be suspended for this incident and have pointed to this episode as a rift that Green cannot come back from, and the team will inevitably be forced to get rid of Green or Poole.
Despite these reactions, Warriors' coach Steve Kerr’s comments about the fight show that the team appears to have handled the event and has moved on:
“Draymond and I have been together for eight years. We’ve had plenty of run-ins…. We’ve been through an awful lot together.”
Kerr continued, “I trust him. He broke our trust with this incident, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt because I think he’s earned that, and I think our team feels the same way.”
Punching a teammate is not something that should be condoned, but it is important to note that scuffles like this, while they seem violent, are not uncommon. Most practices are closed to the public, so it is rare for footage from practices to emerge like this one did. Many former and current players have also been quick to discuss the fact that incidents like this happen from time-to-time during practice. Once a teammate with Michael Jordan during his time with the Chicago Bulls, Steve Kerr got into an infamous altercation with Jordan where the two teammates exchanged punches. The incident did not have long-term impacts on the friendship between the two, and they proceeded to win several championships together afterwards. Kerr recounted that an apology from Jordan resolved the issue.
Any ideas from fans that the two players will not be playing together in the near future are far from reality; Green still has another year left on his contract after this season, and Poole just agreed to a huge multi-year extension with the Warriors that will keep him there for the next few years. Whether or not Poole forgives Green anytime soon, history shows that this incident will probably be forgotten and have no impact on the fate of the Golden State Warriors, one of the best-run organizations in the league, who handle controversy better than anyone.