Dillon Brooks’ brutal hit on Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II has been the talk of the NBA world since it occurred on Wednesday night. The incident could have major ramifications on the title race, as the elbow fracture Payton suffered on the play may sideline him for four to six (or more) weeks, according to UCSF’s Dr. Nirav Pandya.
However, that wasn’t the only controversy to come out of the contest. For his part, Dubs star Draymond Green went at it with the Memphis faithful, flipping the hostile crowd off as he exited the court to receive stitches after his own run-in with Xavier Tillman’s elbow.
Following the contest, Green joked that he wasn’t sweating the inevitable fine he would receive for the gesture because he makes $25 million a year.
Between that statement and the actions that inspired it, ESPN’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo apparently reached his limit with the four-time All-Star.
“Oh, he’s so hard to root for,” Russo lamented. “Ugh, shut up and play, will you please? America’s tired of Draymond Green… Just be quiet and play. We all know he’s got a great skill set for that team, but who in the world is sitting there — he’s so polarizing, I can’t root for him. I understand how good he is; I can’t root for him.”
Those comments drew the ire of fellow First Take panelist and retired baller JJ Redick in a big, bad way.
Redick Puts Russo on Blast Over Green Comments
After Stephen A. Smith came back with a soft rebuttal of Russo’s rhetoric, Redick dropped the hammer on the career broadcaster. Weirdly, the old sharpshooter’s response was cut from ESPN’s video of the segment (embedded above), but we’ve got them here for you.
“I want to take a little umbrage with the ‘shut up and play,’ because that has the same sort of connotations that the ‘shut up and dribble’ crowd has towards athletes, and I have a real problem with that,” Redick said.
“Specifically with Draymond, the idea that America is tired of him — you do realize the guy has a very, very popular podcast that he hosts where he talks, himself, for a majority of the episode, and people listen to that? He signed a talent deal with Turner, because people want to hear what Draymond has to say. The reason they want to hear what Draymond has to say is because, just like in his press conference, he is real, authentic and unfiltered.”
As Redick sees it, those attributes are also responsible for making Green an integral part of the Warriors’ mix and “a future Hall of Famer.” So, he shouldn’t be expected to slow his roll just to placate Russo and people like him.
“The people on Fox News talk about athletes that way. I don’t actually care about the fans that watched Bob Cousy play, or watched Wilt play. I don’t care. I appreciate that they’ve been NBA fans for that long, but I don’t appreciate the undertone,” Redick added after Russo referenced a divide between younger and older fans.
The latest Golden State Warriors news straight to your inbox! Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Shortly after fan clips of the segment went viral on Twitter, Green weighed in on the exchange himself. Clearly, the big man didn’t care much for Russo’s assessment of the situation:
Green and the Warriors will resume play against the Grizzlies on Saturday, May 7 when they host Ja Morant and Co. at Chase Center for Game 3. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PST.