There are two standards in the NBA it seems. One for players named Draymond Green, and one for players who are not named Draymond Green. And that is an issue.
Dillon Brooks avoided suspension for a clear attempt to harm LeBron James. All the elements for a battery are present and on tape. He had the Mens Rea commit an act knowing that it could or would cause bodily harm when he struck LeBron James in the groin. This act occurred beyond the scope of consent that is given in a basketball game. No one consents to being intentionally hit in the groin during a game.
Draymond Green was suspended for a clear attempt to harm Domantas Sabonis. All the elements of a battery are present and documented on tape. He had the Mens Rea commit an act knowing that it could or would cause bodily harm when he stomped on Sabonis in the chest. He, unlike Brooks, even has a possible defense. He also differs from Brooks when it comes to punishment, he was suspended.
Green is a repeat offender, but Brooks is not an altar boy by any stretch of the imagination. It appears that the NBA has a standard for Green and a standard for everyone else. Does Green deserve it? That is for the individual to decide. However, if the league wants its' authority to be taken seriously, it needs to either do one of two things.
One lay out what the standard is to be suspended for an intentional act. The other is to not do that, and not suspend players. The current system of arbitrary punishment harkens back to the days of Roger Goodell dispensing seemingly random punishment on players.
The NBA and Adam Silver have become the story, and that is not a good thing. The playoffs are being overshadowed by the self-inflicted controversy that has befallen the league. Green is a circus, there is no argument against that. He sucker punched a teammate at the beginning of the season for example, but there must be consistency or at least clear guidelines.
If they want to fix this, they must be clear and consistent with punishment. They must remove the Green standard.
Wake Gardner is a 1L at the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. Someday he hopes to work for a sports team in Florida. He can be reached on Twitter @WakeGardner and by email at [email protected].