OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said players feel “vulnerable” on the floor during games, in the wake of an incident between Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Warriors investor Mark Stevens at Oracle Arena during Wednesday night’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
“I think players are definitely vulnerable,” Green said Thursday. “Any time you’re in a situation where you can do no right, like in defending yourself, you’re vulnerable. So if a fan says whatever they want to you and then you say something back, you’re fined. If Kyle was to then hit back, a lot more than a fine would have then happened to Kyle.
“In a situation where you’re essentially helpless, you’re always going to be vulnerable in anything in life. So it’s not just on the basketball court. In any situation you can’t help yourself, you’re vulnerable. So I think as players we definitely are.”
Green’s commentary came on the heels of Stevens pushing Lowry after the Raptors guard jumped into courtside seats to attempt to save a ball from going out of bounds. Lowry confirmed Thursday that Stevens also made derogatory comments toward him in the midst of the exchange. Green and several other Warriors players said they appreciated the way Lowry handled the situation, noting that members of a team’s ownership group, like players in the league, should be held to a higher standard.
“When you’re speaking of players, we are held to a different standard,” Green said. “Coaches are held to — anybody in the NBA circle, you’re held to a different standard. So I think it’s no different when you start talking of anybody in any ownership group in the league. You’re held to a different standard. You can say it’s unfair or not, like whatever your opinion is on it, whether you’re one way or the other, that’s just the reality of it. We’re all held to a different standard, and that’s not going to change.
“This game continues to grow. That standard continues to grow. A player in 2019 is held to a different standard than a player was in 1999. That’s just the reality of where our game is today. We’re all held to a different standard.”
Warriors players and coach Steve Kerr spoke prior to the NBA’s announcement that it had banned Stevens from attending games and participating in team activities for a year and fined him $500,000. Veteran Warriors guard Shaun Livingston echoed Green’s commentary.
“What’s fair is fair, right?” Livingston said. “It sounded like the league suspended him, and it seems to be the right move. If one of our guys was in a different arena — we were up in Toronto and a fan did that — we’d be calling for the same action. Regardless of if he’s an owner or a fan just coming to the game for the first time. Credit the league for doing the right thing. What’s right is right. What’s wrong is wrong.”
Livingston also made a compelling point in regard to why there seems to be more of these incidents in the public eye recently.
“I think it’s because of how social media has taken off,” he said. “There’s more media coverage throughout the games; there’s more exposure to these types of incidents. So there’s more of a fan base; there’s more of a forum to talk about it. So I think that’s kind of what builds up the momentum when these things happen.”
Kerr said that Stevens’ behavior was “unacceptable” and he would personally apologize to Lowry and the Raptors on the Warriors’ behalf. Warriors guard Stephen Curry called the situation “unfortunate,” while noting a similar message to that of several of his teammates.
“I don’t necessarily think it was a reflection of how we handled business here as a Warriors organization and franchise,” Curry said. “We have a high standard and we do things with class and professionalism. And I know Mark is apologetic and whatnot, but we’ll handle that situation — like I said, the organization’s going to do that.
“And just want respect for the game all the way around — fans, owners, team, players, coaches, everybody — because there’s so much good happening on the court that we want to keep the spotlight on that.”