WATCH: Draymond Green Viciously Sucker Punches Warriors Teammate Jordan Poole in Video Leaked to TMZ
Reports that Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green fought his teammate Jordan Poole emerged shortly after the incident unfolded on a Warriors practice court on Wednesday. Initial reports on the fight made it sounds like your run-of-the-mill training dust-up. However, after TMZ produced a leaked video of the incident that showed Green viciously sucker-punching Poole, the whole situation got more complicated.
Draymond Green-Jordan Poole video emerged on Friday morning
Initial reports, like the one from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, initially characterized the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole fight as a “heated interaction” that “escalated” when “Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly.”
However, two days after the incident, the gossip outlet TMZ Sports got its hands on a leaked video that showed the entire altercation.
On the tape, viewers see Green and Poole at practice with no sound. At first, the two don’t even seem to be interacting until Green starts approaching Poole. Green then bumps Poole with his chest, and Poole responds with a hard, two-handed shove.
To this point, it truly does look like a normal interaction between competitive teammates. Then, after the shove, though, Green delivers a vicious right cross to Poole’s head. Poole slams against the wall behind him and immediately slides to the floor as Green pounces on him, and teammates and coaches desperately try to intervene.
The video is a shocking one and sheds a different light on the Warriors’ practice fight.
After the video came out, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic wrote that, after seeing the video, “Multiple sources said their view of the situation is altered. Seeing Green walking up on Poole with obvious bad intentions. Seeing him respond to a baited shove from Poole with a ready swing. Seeing how much venom was behind the punch. That wasn’t the Draymond they knew. That was different than a chin-checking jab they presumed, the kind of measured punch you’d give your little brother.”
Now the question is, how will the team discipline Green, or does Green even have to go? The biggest question the team is asking today, though, is, how did TMZ get that video?
How did TMZ get the Warriors practice video?
While there are questions the Warriors will have to answer in the coming days and weeks (more on that below), it is the Golden State organization asking the questions right now.
The first question is, how did TMZ obtain footage from a closed practice that was not open to fans or media?
The video looks like it was filmed from above the court, possibly in the stands, and from the grainy nature of the video, it seems like it may have been shot from far away. However, it doesn’t seem like it’s far enough or high enough away from the action that Warriors personnel wouldn’t realize the person was in the room.
Either way, the Warriors organization is unhappy that TMZ got its hands on the video. Actually, the team seems more upset about that than the incident itself.
Sources within the Warriors tell ESPN NBA insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne that the franchise is taking “every legal course of action” to find out more about the video coming out and are “aggressively investigating” the release of the video.
The reason the Warriors brass is so upset with the video is that the moving pictures of an event like this turns the whole situation from a minor internal incident that fans and media will forget about within days into a massive event.
Just ask Ray Rice.
How the TMZ video changed the Draymond Green situation
There are two distinct time periods in any scandalous incident. There’s before the video comes out and after.
All sports fans remember the Ray Rice situation.
In the summer of 2014, the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after the Las Vegas police charged him with one count of aggravated assault after a domestic dispute with his wife (then fiancée) at the Revel Casino Hotel.
The commissioner suspended Rice for the first two games of the NFL season, which many at the time believed was too lenient. However, after only reading or hearing accounts of the incident, most moved on without thinking too much more about it.
Then, on September 8, 2014, TMZ (always TMZ!) released a security video from the elevator where the crime occurred. The footage showed the 5-foot-8, 200-plus-pound professional athlete ferociously punching Janay Palmer and knocking her out.
Seeing the video with our own two eyes made the violence and the depravity of the situation so much more real.
Not to compare the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole fight to the Ray Rice domestic situation, but the two incidents are similar in that watching the video changed everything we thought we knew about the incident.
After seeing the Warriors practice video, the organization has some tough decisions to make. At a minimum, it needs to fine and suspend Green for his violent actions. If that happens and Poole forgives his teammate, maybe that’s it.
But if Poole holds on to this — and NBA opponents will do their best to make sure he does with in-game trash talk — there could be serious problems. And then, the team will have to decide who stays and who goes, which could send major ripples through the NBA universe.