Warriors’ Draymond Green Claps Back at ESPN Pundit’s Criticism

Draymond Green

Getty Draymond Green looks on during a play in a game against the Indiana Pacers.

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green is firing back after criticism from an ESPN pundit.

This week, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo called out Green on ESPN’s “First Take,” saying the Warriors big man should “shut up and play” after a heated moment in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. Green had flipped off Memphis Grizzlies fans who were jeering him as he went to the locker room for treatment of a laceration over his eye, then said after the game that he didn’t regret the gesture.

Russo took issue with the comments, and now Green is responding.

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Green Strikes Back

Speaking about the incident on “The Draymond Green Show,” the Warriors big man said he believed Russo’s comments had racial undertones.

“Yesterday, he [Russo] goes on TV and he says ‘America is tired of Draymond Green.’ He then proceeds to say ‘shut up and play,’” Green said. “I’m not one to really pull a race card very often because I think we all know the role that race plays in a world that we live in, but that definitely had a racist connotation. A very racist undertone.”

Green has been carefully crafting a media career outside of his NBA work, launching his podcast and signing on as a TNT analyst. He painted Russo’s comments as denigrating toward players who have an opinion to express beyond the game.

“Even beyond it having the racist undertone, we don’t need to go any further than, ‘Who are you?’ Who are you to say … what have you done in your life to say, ‘America is tired of him, shut up and play.’ Shut up and play? As I said on my Instagram caption the other day, those ‘shut up and dribble,’ ‘shut up and play’ days are long gone, we don’t listen to that anymore, we don’t want to hear it anymore. It has no place here nor will it be tolerated.”

Green Punished for Game 2 Behavior

While he was clapping back at Russo, Green was also taking some heat from the NBA for his gesture toward Grizzlies fans. The league announced on May 5 that Green was fined $25,000 for flipping off fans, though Green said he was ready to pay the fine and said the fans were out of line for booing him while he was injured.

“You gonna boo someone who was elbowed in the eye and face is running with blood, you should get flipped off,” Green said, via ESPN. “I’ll take the fine. I’ll do an appearance and make up the money. It felt really good to flip them off. … If they are going to be that nasty, I will be nasty, too. I’m assuming the cheers were because they know I’ll be fined. Great — I make $25 million a year. I should be just fine.”

Green had already been ejected in Game 1 over the series after being assessed a flagrant 2 foul for a play where he snagged the jersey of Brandon Clarke and brought the Grizzlies’ big man to the floor.

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