“I failed as a leader,” Green said at a Saturday press conference, calling the punch a “huge mistake” while apologizing to the Warriors organization, his teammates and the Poole family. “I failed as a man.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that Green’s separation from the team was a “mutual decision” between the organization and the player and that there was “no set date” for a return. . Green’s status for Golden State’s season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 18, when the defending champions will receive their rings, therefore remains uncertain.
In the video footage, which was first published by TMZ without accompanying audio, Green walked towards the baseline where Poole was standing until the two were face to face. Poole then shoved Green with both hands before Green hit Poole with enough force that Poole’s head was thrown back as others rushed towards the pair.
The fight between Green and Poole was first reported on Wednesday, and the Warriors did not immediately discipline Green, instead treating the incident as an internal matter.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers told reporters Thursday that Green apologized to the team for the altercation, left the practice facility and was not expected until Saturday. Myers initially said he didn’t expect Green to be suspended or miss games as a result, and Poole, who was unharmed by the hit, returned to training Thursday. The move came under intense scrutiny once video of the incident was leaked on Friday.
Green said he was in “a very, very, very bad space mentally” and was “dealing with some things in my personal life” that may have contributed to his shortened temper and reaction. Acknowledging his history of emotional outbursts, Green said he was a “flawed person” and a “constant work in progress”, and still had “a very long way to go”.
“Hurt people hurt people,” he said. “I hurt someone because I was in a hurt place.”
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The 2017 Defensive Player of the Year also expressed frustration and embarrassment over the leaked footage, and he thanked the Warriors for conducting an investigation to determine who was responsible. Green said he watched the video at least 15 times, concluding that his actions “looked even worse than I thought” and were “pathetic.”
“I thought [the leak] was bulls —,” Green said. “No other videos leak from practice. When we work on our sets, they don’t leak. When I coach everyone, it doesn’t leak.
Several warriors quickly came to the defense of Poole following a Yahoo report that there had been a “change in Poole’s demeanor” during training camp with the possibility of a lucrative contract extension looming. Striker Andre Iguodala called him a “child of great character” and said Green’s behavior was “family affair.” Warriors star Stephen Curry said the claim was ‘absolute BS’
“There’s nothing that justified the situation,” Curry said Thursday. “I want to be clear. It’s also something that we don’t think will derail our season, which is what we’re trying to build, and that’s with Draymond part of that.
Kerr said Poole had been “fantastic throughout camp”, and the coach dismissed concerns over the keeper’s attitude.
A four-time All-Star and seven-time All-Defensive, Green has been involved in several combative incidents during his career. During a profane 2016 halftime outburst directed at Kerr, Green reportedly shouted “I’m not a robot!” so loud it could be heard by a reporter standing outside the visitors’ locker room in Oklahoma City. In 2018, the Warriors suspended Green for one game for his role in an on-play dispute with teammate Kevin Durant, a disagreement that preceded Durant’s 2019 departure to the Brooklyn Nets.
Green was suspended by the NBA after delivering a low blow to LeBron James in the 2016 Finals and going over the gross foul point limit in the playoffs, an absence he later admitted cost the 2016 title to the Warriors. He was also ejected from a second-round playoff game against the Memphis Grizzlies in May for a flagrant foul.
While under contract through the 2023-24 season, Green was eligible for an extension this offseason, but he said last month he did not expect to complete a deal until the start of the season.
Poole, 23, had a breakout campaign in 2021-22, averaging 18.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his third season. Considered an early favorite to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, Poole’s next contract could be of a similar size to the Miami guard’s recently signed four-year, $130 million extension. Heat, Tyler Herro.
Green said he had not met Poole since the incident, but was adamant that side contract negotiations were not a motivating factor for his punch.
“I can assure you that I don’t count other people’s pockets,” he said. “It’s not something I would start doing. The way I was raised was to just hate another man’s situation.
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