Golden State Warriors all-everything forward Draymond Green understands the entertainment business like few current athletes do. After being ejected on a questionable Flagrant 2 foul during Sunday’s Western Conference semifinal game against the Memphis Grizzles, Green recorded an episode of his popular eponymous podcast and discussed the call in question.
“I am dumb enough to think that it would not even be a Flagrant 1,” said Green. “That the playoffs are a little tougher and not as soft as the regular season.”
"I am dumb enough to think that it would not even be a Flagrant 1"
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) May 2, 2022
On the play in question, Green swipes down on the Grizzlies’ Brandon Clarke as Clarke is going for a layup during the second quarter. Green misses and makes contact with Clarke’s face and then tugs on Clarke’s jersey, pulling him down to the floor. Green immediately holds Clarke up from taking a harder tumble.
Draymond Green was ejected for this flagrant 2 foul. pic.twitter.com/QPYnODEXt1
— ESPN (@espn) May 1, 2022
According to the 2021-22 NBA rulebook, a Flagrant 1 is an “unnecessary” foul.
Rule 12B, Section IV-a. If contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpreted to be unnecessary, a flagrant foul—penalty (1) will be assessed. A personal foul is charged to the offender and a team foul is charged to the team.
All Flagrant fouls are reviewed. A player who commits two Flagrant 1 fouls in a game is ejected. The fouled team gets two free throws and retains possession of the ball.
A Flagrant 2 foul is an “unnecessary” foul that is also “excessive.”
Rule 12B, Section IV-b. If contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpreted to be unnecessary and excessive, a flagrant foul—penalty (2) will be assessed. A personal foul is charged to the offender and a team foul is charged to the team.
All Flagrant fouls are reviewed. In this case, the player who commits the foul is ejected. The fouled team gets two free throws and retains possession of the ball.
What is deemed unnecessary and excessive is of course open to interpretation by the officials.
Green’s foul definitely warranted a Flagrant 1. It was unnecessary. As to whether it was excessive, it seems that lead official from the game, Kane Fitzgerald, thought the windup and the contact to the face and head area made the play excessive.
In the official pool report, Fitzgerald said, “windup to the face, impact to the face, the followthrough to the jersey and the throw down to the ground” was the reason it was escalated to a Flagrant 2.
You can see what Fitzgerald is saying and even understand the rationale. But the fact that Green immediately held up from the followthrough to the ground suggests otherwise.
Be that as it may, if the league doesn’t rescind the Flagrant 2 and bring it down to a Flagrant 1, Green will have two flagrant foul points. Four points triggers an automatic one-game suspension.
Green is prone to fouls of the flagrant variety and he plays with an edge. No doubt his reputation played a part in the escalation.
Clarke talked about the play in his postgame media availability.
“He’s been known for flagrant fouls in his career,” said Clarke. “I’ve watched them on TV my whole life, so I wasn’t really shocked.”
Brandon Clarke on Draymond Green: "He's been known for flagrant fouls in his career. I've watched them on TV my whole life, so I wasn't really shocked." pic.twitter.com/kOyw4hHNTE
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) May 2, 2022
Green’s going to have to be mindful, as he cannot afford to miss playoff games. He is a vital piece to the Warriors’ championship hopes.
Green was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after hitting LeBron James in the groin. Not exactly uncharted territory.