Draymond Green’s lenient punishment for punching Jordan Poole serves as a Rorschach test for NBA fans

SAN FRANCISCO — When Dante wrote about the Nine Circles of Hell in the 14th century, there’s no way he could have imagined that by 2022 they’d all have merged into one rushing, rainy pit of horror: Facebook comments.

If you’ve mustered the courage to make that dreaded scroll through the comments of even a mildly controversial post, you’ve seen the embodiment of the last eight circles from “Inferno” — lust, gluttony, greed, rage, heresy, violence, deceit and betrayal . The first circle, limbo, describes your state of mind as your finger hovers over the “delete account” button, hoping to avoid further PTSD.

There is, however, one corner of Facebook that looks more like the legendary Garden of Eden: The wonderful page titled, “Golden State Warriors on CBS Sports.” The team, which has nearly 1.5 million followers, is an unexpected source of joy, support and die-hard fans. It’s so unusual that you’re probably reading it as sarcasm, but I guarantee it’s not — the sentiment on the page is almost universally upbeat.

Miss Game 1 of the NBA Finals? “It’s okay guys, they’ll regroup and we’ll take them in game 2!”

Is Steph Curry Injured? “Don’t worry! The rest of the team will go up until he comes back!”

Does a key player leave in free agency? “We will miss you! You deserve all the wonderful things that have come your way!”

It’s a breath of clean, ocean air in an atmosphere polluted by industrial waste.

That’s why it was so exciting and revealing to watch the team’s reaction when Draymond Green punched Jordan Poole in practice last week and subsequent punishment coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday night. The usually rosy Warriors fan community on Facebook has become bitterly divisive — a reflection of Green’s already polarizing nature.

When he returns to practice Thursday, Green’s official suspension will be complete — a week away from the team, an undisclosed fine and no suspension. Whether you consider it completely justified or annoyingly indulgent, it probably reveals your general feelings about Green during his tumultuous 10-year NBA career, which included suspensions, fines and more technical fouls than you can count.

Given his history and the severity of the punch which, if we’re being honest, bordered on assault, a lengthy suspension would be more than warranted. What some see as a slap on the wrist has led to two separate camps among fans.

Here’s a quick roundup of real-life, exclamation-filled comments from the previously serene Warriors Facebook page:

“He should be fine and suspended and traded in my opinion Dre has gone too far. Everyone keeps defending him and he keeps doing the same thing. Dub Nation I’m out!!”

“It was internal, a group practice. It’s none of our business. It just so happened that someone decided to talk about it, not a member of the group, as well as leak a video of it. We don’t know about anyone else’s private gatherings, so why do people think that they know about the Dubs’ private gatherings.”

“‘Really serious stuff’ with a slap on the wrist. I thought Dub’s was better than that!”

“Okay!! Now let’s move on. Things like this happen to almost every team and in most sports. They just aren’t publicized like this. Let’s leave them alone. GO WARRIORS”

“If this happened at your job. You think you’d be fined or fired. The NBA should step up and fire him. What a joke. Coach Kerr was honest when he explained the decision. I’ve lost all respect for the Warriors!”

“Let’s not forget that JP pushed DG first. We always look for a victim, but we never look at a position where they both agreed to a fight. If JP wakes up and DG hits him or pushes him while he’s leaving, I would agree that the DG was in the wrong.”

The green, abundant grassland has been turned into a battlefield.

Everyone is subject to confirmation bias, and Warriors fans are no exception. Those who defend the decision of Kerr and Co. not to suspend Green probably see his antics as a necessary consequence of the very traits that have made him so essential to Golden State’s success over the past decade. Those who think the punishment didn’t go far enough have probably seen enough of Green’s repeated violations — including one that says cost his team the 2016 championship and another that played a role after all pushing Kevin Durant to the East Coast.

For NBA fans, Green has long been the personification of a Rorschach test — you know, the limitless blobs of ink that serve to reveal your innermost thoughts. Some look at Draymond and see a fiery competitor whose attitude and leadership are vital to a modern dynasty. Others see a cranky, temperamental locker-room cancer who has worn out his welcome through repeated impulsive outbursts.

Both are fair prospects, and the bias even extends to the Warriors themselves. We’d like to objectively examine each situation on its own merits, but that’s not how life works. When addressing the media Tuesday about Green’s punishment, Kerr explained how their relationship played a major role in the discipline that was (and wasn’t) imposed.

“Draymond and I have been together for eight years,” Kerr said. “We’ve had a lot of runs. We’ve won championships together, we’ve lost championships together. We’ve been through a lot together. I trust him. He broke our trust with this incident, but I” I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because I think he’s earned it — and I think our team feels the same way.”

As he sat in front of the media with the requisite talking points printed on a white sheet of paper, Kerr said it was fair to think Green’s punishment was not severe enough. He also said the Warriors’ core veterans signed off on the final decision. More importantly, so did Poole.

“Jordan, obviously he had to be involved in it,” Kerr said Tuesday. “Jordan and Draymond got together and had a great conversation that I think will help us moving forward. So after this whole week with everything and just evaluating everything, this feels right.”

It looks like the Warriors, at least for now, will attempt to delicately navigate what Kerr called “the biggest crisis we’ve ever had,” and next week’s season opener could serve as a metaphorical page turn. But when Green’s name is called to receive the championship ring in front of the Chase Center crowd, there may be a mixed reception.

Warriors fans are certainly grateful for what he’s done for the team, but it’s abundantly clear that — after Green not only crossed the line, but almost destroyed it — some have simply had enough.

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