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“It’s a reputation thing” - Draymond Green on getting ejected in Game 1

Referees spearheaded by Kane Fitzgerald had something to say about that
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green

Draymond Green

Game one of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies featured a lot of trash-talking, back-and-forth buckets, and impressive performances.

But so far, nothing has been more controversial than Draymond Green's ejection in the first half of game one after committing a flagrant two on Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke.

With just one minute left in the second quarter, Green fouled Clarke in an attempt to swipe the ball from his hands. Unfortunately, the three-time champions' hand ended up in Clarke's face and eventually on the forward's jersey, causing Clarke to fall on the floor.

The referees, spearheaded by Kane Fitzgerald, went straight to the scorer's table to assess Green's unsportsmanlike foul and eventually deemed it worthy of a flagrant two, resulting in Green's ejection.

"When they reviewed the foul for as long as they reviewed it, I said to myself 'Hmm, I wonder what they could be deciding that's possibly going to take this long?,' "Green said on his podcast "The Draymond Green Show" which he recorded as soon as the game ended. "I'm actually dumb enough to think I wasn't going to get a Flagrant 1. Talk about an idiot. You want to call anyone an idiot, look no further than Draymond Green himself," the forward added.

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Green believes the flagrant call had to do with his reputation.

Green admitted on his podcast that he had no idea why the hard foul was deemed a flagrant two, especially since it happened in the playoffs. He defended himself by saying that he held Clarke's jersey so he wouldn't fall to the ground, but that turned out differently.

Draymond expected the officials to understand that it was a hard-fought physical battle between two gritty teams, but the referees thought Green went too far. According to the Warriors' forward, the ejection escalated because Green has developed a reputation for committing these kinds of flagrant fouls over the past few years (cough, cough, remember Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals?).

"And so I sat there. And then the official turned. He had a hard time telling [us what happened]. He said 'There's going to be a Flagrant...' and like, a long pause 'Two.' He didn't even want to say it was going to be a Flagrant 2 which was very interesting to me because, again, I am dumb enough to think that it would not even be a Flagrant 1, that the playoffs are a little tougher and not as soft as the regular season, that you can bump a little and get away with a little more, but we've seen questionable calls in the first round, things that didn't get reviewed. Sometimes I guess it's just a case-by-case thing, it's a reputation thing. I think tonight was probably a reputation thing more so than a hard foul," Green said.

The referees defend their case.

After the game, Fitzgerald addressed the Grizzlies media about the controversial flagrant call on Green. According to the referee, Green's unnecessary contact on Clarke's face plus the jersey pull was what inflicted the ejection, and it had nothing to do with Green's reputation.

"The first part was the wind-up and significant contact to the face, and then the pull down from the jersey grab and throw down to the floor to an airborne vulnerable player makes that unnecessary and excessive," Fitzgerald said. "That's what led to the flagrant foul penalty two."

The NBA community reacts.

I don't know what was the funniest part about the turn of events after Green's ejection — the fact that he danced on the court to troll Grizzlies fans who were chanting "throw him out" or when Green recorded an "emergency podcast" (talk about a marketing genius!) as soon as he got to his hotel room after the game.

Nevertheless, many NBA Hall-of-Famers and even current players took Green's side and felt that the ejection was unwarranted. Like Green's sentiments, the flagrant was a surprise for many and indicates that the league has undoubtedly changed the qualifications on these types of calls.

Whether Green's ejection was fair or not, at least his Warriors drew first blood in Game 1. It'll be interesting to see if the NBA enforces further consequences for Green's eventful night. 

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