Skip to main content

Steve Kerr said Dillon Brooks “broke the code” with his hard foul on Gary Payton II year

While Brooks foul on Payton was definitely a dirty play, it doesn't end up coming close to the dirtiest play on the season.
Steve Kerr said Dillon Brooks “broke the code” with his hard foul on Gary Payton II year

Golden State was incensed with the foul from Brooks at the time, as coach Steve Kerr was heard yelling, “get the f--- out of here, Brooks,”

The first two games of the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies Western Conference Semifinals matchup have been physical. Draymond Green was ejected in Game 1 for a flagrant 2 foul on Brandon Clarke, and the Warriors weren’t happy about it. They are probably less satisfied with the foul from Dillon Brooks that led to Gary Payton II breaking his elbow, though.

Brooks made an aggressive contest on a layup attempt from Payton while he was in the air and sent Payton crashing to the floor on his elbow. Payton didn’t return, and Brooks was subsequently ejected for a flagrant 2 foul. There’s a decent chance that Brooks will get suspended for a portion of the series due to Payton’s injury from the play.

The Warriors would lose the game, as Ja Morant dropped 47 points, thanks in part to Payton no longer being on the court to defend him. Golden State was incensed with the foul from Brooks at the time, as coach Steve Kerr was heard yelling, “get the f--- out of here, Brooks,” in the aftermath of the flagrant two ruling. Here’s what Kerr had to say after the game was over.

“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty. There is a code. This code that players follow where you never put a guy’s season [or] career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in midair and clubbing him across the head, ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow ... He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code.” Steve Kerr, ESPN

What does Kerr mean by “the code”?

While Kerr seems to create this code based solely on Brooks’ play, he’s using it as an example of the ethical prospects of sports injuries. Regardless of your rooting allegiances, you never want to see a player go down with an injury in any sport. That translates to the players, as their goal is to win, not injure other players. Kerr is implying that Brooks’ play on Payton was made with the intent of injuring Payton.

Brooks’ foul on Payton isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and it almost certainly won’t be the last time either. Whether intentional or not, Brooks made a dangerous play on Payton that will almost certainly end Payton’s season and deal a significant blow to Golden State’s championship prospects. Brooks’ reckless play will have repercussions, and there’s a good chance he will be suspended for a chunk of the series, considering the extent of Payton’s injury.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Who else has committed similar fouls that would have broken Kerr’s code?

This season, there have been a few other instances where players have been assessed a flagrant two foul and ejected because of a dangerous hit on an airborne player, which would seemingly qualify as breaking the code Kerr referenced and being classified as a dirty play. The most obvious of them would be Grayson Allen’s play on Alex Caruso, which resulted in Caruso breaking his wrist.

Of the two plays, this seems to be more deliberate than what Brooks did. Allen doesn’t make a play on the ball and pulls Caruso to the ground while both guys are in the air. Brooks isn’t much better, and while he hits Payton on the head to force his foul, he at least appeared to be attempting to make a play on the ball, unlike Allen.

There have been a couple of other notable plays similar to these two that didn’t receive as much attention because a severe injury wasn’t tied to it. De’Aaron Fox had a play where he whacked Garrison Matthews in midair on a layup attempt and was promptly ejected. Fox appears to have gotten some of the ball, but he also gets a lot of Matthews, which made an ejection the easy call here.

Joe Ingles had a play where he undercut Davion Mitchell on a dunk attempt, clipping his feet and causing him to lose his balance and midair and take a hard fall. Of the ones mentioned, this appears to be the least intentional, as Ingles didn’t make any pursuit of Mitchell on his shot attempt. Nevertheless, it resulted in a quick ejection for Ingles.

Finally, another play from Talen Horton-Tucker on Jalen Suggs somehow only resulted in a flagrant 1 foul but was probably among the dirtiest plays this season. Horton-Tucker goes up for a block on Suggs, which he seemingly gets, but then he bends Suggs back and slams him to the ground in midair when he did not have to. Horton-Tucker wasn’t ejected, but it looks similar to Allen’s play on Caruso.

Of all these plays that probably broke the code Kerr referenced, Allen’s still stands as the dirtiest, considering he made virtually no attempt to get the ball and ended up breaking Caruso’s wrist. Brooks’ foul is right up there, but ultimately he made a bit more of an attempt than Allen to get the ball. Unfortunately for Brooks, he could be set to miss some time due to the play, meaning it will probably be the most consequential foul of the year, if not the dirtiest.

Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal and San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan

Shaquille O'Neal explains what makes Tim Duncan the only big man he ”could never break”

Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning weren't as much of a challenge for Shaq as facing The Big Fundamental was.

New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd and Boston Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine

Brian Scalabrine credits Jason Kidd for turning him into the White Mamba

White Mamba was honest about the fact that without Kidd, he'd be out of the NBA in three months.


Draymond Green had a huge blunt station at his wedding

No wonder LeBron, Curry, Tatum, and numerous other NBA stars had such a great time at Draymond's wedding.


Skip Bayless takes a dig at Bronny James' monster dunk: "Your dad would have done it better!"

It seems like Skip is planting seeds to hate on the next generation of LeBron James and his family.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye

“Everyone loves this conversation, but stop it, because the things that you judge it by is never the same.” — Channing Frye hates the GOAT debate

Frye explains why Shaquille O'Neal's percieved value has depreciated over time because of the GOAT conversation.

Michigan State Spartans center Anthony Ianni and forward Draymond Green

Why ex-teammate Anthony Ianni calls his friendship with Draymond Green a blessing in disguise

A great story explaining why Draymond is beloved by teammates, despite his abrasive character.