By anything resembling an objective standard—and that’s certainly tough to pin down—if the NBA suspended Dahntay Jones for one game for attacking Bismack Biyombo’s crotch, Draymond Green’s multiple assaults on Steven Adams’s fellas deserved the same punishment.
But, obviously, these situations aren’t the same. Dahntay Jones is Dahntay Jones and Draymond Green is Draymond Green.
At the Thunder’s shootaround today, Kevin Durant made exactly that point:
“They’re not going to suspend Draymond Green. He’s one of the premier players in the league, on arguably on of the best teams in the history of the game. They’re not going to suspend him.
“I didn’t even really think about it. I knew the league was going to let him play or fine him, upgrade him to a Flagrant 2...we all knew that was going to happen. The league is pro-business, so I get it. No hard feelings.”
We can all save a lot of yelling if we acknowledge that Durant is correct; the NBA was not going to run the risk of shortening this series by suspending one of the Warriors’ best players. It is, as Durant noted multiple times in his interview, “just business.”
Here’s the maybe-controversial take: I’m OK with that! The NBA, like all sports leagues, is an entertainment product. And it is more entertaining and a better product with Draymond Green on the court tonight.
What do I care about fair play or consequences? I’m an 18-to-35 year old male with disposable income and advertisers love me, and I’m sure as hell a lot more likely to tune into the game to see if the Thunder try to rough up Green, or if Green continues to flail about on contact, or if Steven Adams now has a trained cobra living in his shorts to bite any feet that come near. This is just good drama, damn it.
The NBA thrives on drama, most of which comes naturally but can occasionally be massaged by league decisions like this one. It’s worse for Thunder fans, sure, and for the Thunder, but it’s better TV. Sports leagues shouldn’t mind judging players by multiple standards, because they’re not really there to satisfy the universe’s sense of justice. They’re there for advertisers, and media partners, and consumers—hey, that’s us! We consume. We like interesting basketball. Let’s all thank the NBA for thinking of us.