With Melissa Rochlin
FOX Sports NBA Writer
Draymond Green was also horrified by the video. He watched himself dunk on Jordan Poole at Golden State Warriors practice Wednesday and beat a man nine years younger and 36 pounds lighter.
He saw how bad the looked at. How bad he looked at. At that moment he was lost in his emotions. But after TMZ obtained a video of the incident, it viewed his actions in the harsh light of reality, undeterred by his rage. It was horrible, and so were the millions of other people who saw it.
“I failed as a leader,” Green said. “I failed as a man.”
Green watched the video at least 15 times. He was annoyed that Poole’s family had to see this. He imagined how his mother would feel watching him getting punched. His wife is now said to be only a matter of time before she finds herself on the receiving end of Green’s violence. He apologized to Poole’s family and his own family.
Green spoke for nearly 40 minutes at the Chase Center on Saturday, bringing up the incident for the first time. He was raw, honest, vulnerable and full of remorse. He said he will take a few days off from the Warriors to let everyone heal.
“I’m a very flawed person,” Green said.
[The Warriors are once again grappling with the duality of Draymond]
Green made no excuses for himself. He said he was in a “very, very bad place mentally” on Wednesday because of problems in his personal life. He said he needs to learn how to control himself. How to recognize when the hairpin is on the trigger. How to prevent himself from doing something like this again.
When asked what motivated him, he refused to tell his side of the story. He said this would be a “sympathy tactic”.
“I’m not looking for sympathy,” Green said. “…If anyone deserves any sympathy, it’s Jordan, it’s this team.”
He plans to use his time away from the team to reflect. He knows his actions broke the trust between him and Poole, someone he claims he took under his wing when the Warriors selected Poole with the 28th overall pick in the 2019 draft.
“Hilt people hurt people,” Green said. “I was in a very contentious space that morning where I dealt with some things that are very near and dear to me and I hurt someone because I was in a position to hurt. For that, I apologized. And you apologize with words, but, ultimately, the your actions show your forgiveness.”
Green said he always struggled to control his emotions.
He said he internalizes things. It’s more comfortable that way. He feels safer when people don’t know how he feels. But things inevitably bubble up and explode. He knows he needs to make changes.
“One thing I lack is how to let emotions out,” said Green, who was raised below the poverty line by a single mother for much of his childhood in Saginaw, Michigan. “…As I grew up, dealing with the things I had to deal with, you learn to internalize a lot of things.”
Green said he plans to do some deep thinking. It is unclear how long he will be away from the team. He said he hopes to play in the season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 18, but nothing has been decided.
When Green apologized to Poole and the Warriors on Thursday, he said he “didn’t take much” from Poole, nor did he expect it. She wants to give him time to work despite his feelings. Green imagined how awkward it would be when the Warriors took home the championship rings along with his family and Poole’s family.
“There’s this dark cloud in the room,” Green said. “And I caused it.”
When Green returns to the team, he said he hopes to regain everyone’s trust. He made it clear that his row with Poole had nothing to do with them both getting contract extensions, dismissing him as “hating another man’s situation”, which is “something you just don’t do”.
In fact, when Green was asked how he feels about Poole, he said there’s nothing but love there — at least on his end. He pointed out that their lockers have been next to each other since day 1 for some reason.
“I’m the guy who backed Jordan when he was sent to the G League and nobody thought he had a chance,” Green said. “I’m the guy who yells at him, ‘Hey man, you should do this,’ or ‘Nice game.'”
Green said he has no idea how Poole feels about the situation yet. He knows it’s up to Poole to decide whether to forgive him. Either way, he said he’ll still try to help Poole whenever he can.
When Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked Saturday if the team’s confidence in Green has been compromised, he replied, “No comment.” When asked how Green’s apology was received, he said: “It’s nobody’s business but ours.”
Kerr was cut. But he made one thing clear: He was deeply upset that the video of Green’s punch was leaked. (Sources told FOX Sports Friday that the team is investigating how the video got out.) Now the entire team is being dragged through the mud.
Draymond punches Warriors teammate Jordan Poole on video surfaces via TMZ | FIRST OF ALL
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Kerr said the Warriors have a problem with leaks, noting that last season, Andrew Wiggins’ resistance to getting the COVID vaccine also came through. Kerr added that he has seen more than 20 punches in practice in his 32 years in the league and has never before released video to the public.
“It’s like if you had a camera in your family and there was a family feud, would you really want to talk about it with the world?” Kerr asked. “No, of course not. You want to handle it internally.”
As for the Warriors, neither Kerr nor Green believe that will affect their chances of competing for a title this season. The core of the team, Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, went through a lot of drama, a lot of hurt and a lot of failure — but it persevered to become the dynasty of this generation, reaching the NBA Finals six of the last eight years and winning four championships.
“That won’t affect the win,” Green said. “Winners win. Winners find a way. And we will win.”
But Green knows it’s up to him to make sure the Warriors can pull through. He has to figure out how to rejoin the team. He has to prove himself to everyone around him.
He tries to take responsibility. He said he chose not to address the situation on his podcast so he wouldn’t hide behind a computer screen. He wanted to face the reporters, answer their questions and take responsibility for his actions.
Green knows it will be a bumpy road behind it, but he plans to do everything in his power to turn things around.
“It’s something I sincerely regret,” he said.
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Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.
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