Draymond Green: Telling Athletes to Stop Playing Sports Is ‘Counterproductive’

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The sports world was rocked on Wednesday as the Milwaukee Bucks opted not to take the court for a playoff game, risking potential forfeit, in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake about 45 minutes from Milwaukee in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The remaining games of the day were postponed, and then there were reports that the Lakers and Clippers voted to protest the rest of the season (these reports were later clarified not to necessarily mean game over).

Commenting on a House of Highlights Instagram post aggregating Shams Charania’s report that the Lakers and Clippers voted not to play the rest of the season, Draymond Green wrote the following, in response to a comment that “sports can wait”:

“But why can sports wait? Because it’s a sport? It to is a business, like the many other businesses in the world. Why is it that sports can wait but other businesses should not? If that is the case why shouldn’t the CEO of YouTube boycott Alphabet? Or the President of Apple boycott the company? But you say basketball can wait… Is it because sports(the platform) has afforded the athletes involved such huge platforms? Or maybe the athletes involved past and present actually afforded sports those platforms, that the many athletes currently have today(that’s neither here nor there). The notion that athletes should just stop working but no one else in the world should stop is baffling to me. Why stop doing the very thing that offers you the biggest platform to speak for those that look like me/a lot of us. To do that is to actually give up the platform to speak for them, because without us using our platforms which is afforded by the influence of the sport, it actually stops us from echoing what those in the back are saying. Those people then will never truly be heard. Athletes stand with the people, no secret there, but to actually tell athletes to stop doing what provides that platform to speak for the people is actually counterproductive. In my opinion.”

To his point: If the NBA players had not returned to the bubble, it’s very difficult to envision the Bucks doing anything that ultimately resonated the way their sitting out a playoff game did.

Today will be a landmark day in determining if the NBA players in the bubble are on Draymond Green’s side of things or if they opt to ultimately cancel the season.


Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. Similar to a lot of the teachers in America who are using COVID19 as an excuse to have an extended holiday with pay, I suspect a lot of these athletes simply want to hang up the jersey and get back to being highly opinionated millionaires with too much time on their hands. Practicing and playing is hard work, and we’ve reached the point with this pampered xbox generation that many of them don’t want to do it. The term Load management comes to mind.

    Good for Draymond, and not surprising for a guy that played 4 years for Tom Izzo, and led his team to a championship as a Senior.

  2. Draymond makes a great point here: “Why stop doing the very thing that offers you the biggest platform to speak for those that look like me/a lot of us. To do that is to actually give up the platform to speak for them….”

    Stop playing, and people will talk about this for a week or so, then move on to football. Keep playing and we see the players message on center court for 50+ more games, hear them speak in 50+ more press conferences, etc.

  3. Draymond is right, its literally the most counter-productive thing they could do. That being said, I know I’m not the only one loving the fact that these coddled pro athletes are now cancelling themselves! You can’t write this stuff!

  4. I must say, that, although I agree with Draymond’s sentiment, I stopped watching the NBA. When a group of people (regardless of race, political affiliation etc.) start pushing an agenda based on false or misleading information, I just tune them out…

  5. I expect the players to demand that their teams continue to pay them — even if they stop playing.
    If the teams balk at paying up, the players can then accuse the league of not supporting the cause. The sad thing is, this strategy will probably work; and the players will gain even more leverage for the future. Even if league revenues plummet, the players will simply demand that the owners give them more of the pie, so that they can maintain and grow their incomes.

    • Indeed, this appeasement typically comes back to bite you sooner or later, as it did to Neville Chamberlin in the 1940’s. The NBA owners and ESPN are screwed, they will take massive revenue losses, and any pushback will be played as racist and insensitive to the cause.

  6. This is the first logical thing I have ever heard Daymond Green say. Your platform is the game you play, so walking away from it takes the platform away…but that is a logical conclusion and this situation is all about irrational emotion, not logic.

  7. Lebron will decide for everyone because he is the woke police.

    NBA players destroying the platform Bird, Magic, and Jordan created. Unreal and how entitled they did not create the platform, it was created by former players. Just look at the NBA finals ratings during the 90’s versus 2010 to today. Crazy how much these new players have destroyed their own game.

    • pretty much…Lebron will decide…the most common mistake in life is linking talent with leadership…in most businesses, there are lots of great employees…LeBron happens to be a great employee…he’s a garbage leader..if he were a president, he’d be a combination of Obama and Carter

  8. Great statement by Draymond!

    I have no idea, just from reading this, what his political beliefs are. I can suspect where he leans but at least we can have a discussion with someone like this.

    You can believe both things simultaneously:

    1. Police need additional training in de-escalation and the psychology of handling volatile, emotional situations. And we need to screen individuals with sociopathic tendencies out of law enforcement.

    2. People from all cultures should be taught self-preservation techniques like “comply with police especially when they are holding guns pointed directly at you.”

  9. I just wish more of the players who know the facts/truth would have the courage to speak-up, but that is not possible with the “Social Justice Police” and King James are the thought and voice while running the league.

    I have NO respect for those players who do not have the courage to Speak the Truth! Tough or Not. It is destructive behavior on both sides.

  10. NBA players are approaching this all wrong. There is a much much more productive way to approach this.

    1) Engage the right people in the discussion: don’t blame the president nor blame the United States of America, they didn’t hire the police in Kenosha, WI, Minneapolis, MN or any other city for that matter. Local municipalities did. Blame the mayors of the cities, engage with the police chief’s and have a productive conversation.
    2) Denounce the violence that follows, none of these instances show a measured response at all and only fans more racial flames in the process. Start be condemning the aftermath of a city burned to the ground when its citizens had nothing to do with what an officer did in the line of duty.
    3) Play “FOR” Jacob Blake instead of saying you’re not playing until justice is served. The criminal justice system doesn’t move at the speed of twitter or otherwise it would convict based on no actual facts.
    4) Start to deliver a positive message out to all of the people who may be arrested or confronted by police, comply and no bad will happen. That’s not a lie it is obvious.
    5) Don’t act like a random event or a series of non-connected events will magically disappear by putting slogans on your jersey’s and denigrating anyone who disagrees with you. Many of the unarmed people taken down by police are not quite cut and dry when you look into the facts. Be honest about that instead of being cry babies. You are grown men, act like it!
    6) Cancel the season if you must, but honestly this will do harm to your business and bottom line that you don’t truly no yet how to quantify it. I wish the owners and commissioners had more respect, but sadly it sounds like they don’t. The NBA as an organization has done nothing wrong to deserve its players walking out. they are making more money than most would dream of and act like its the worst thing in the world.

    Bottom line, be more productive in engaging privately in an actual debate that is constructive to meet your end goals, we all want the same thing here, no violence and nobody harmed. Go about it with a more positive approach.

  11. Much of the cause of all of this was the last CBA with the players. Somehow, the NBA got TV money that dwarfs their actual ratings and appeal.

    They took that Mega $$$ and created super teams with multiple super max contracts and players violating contracts by recruiting players from other teams.

    Not one franchise in the NBA has fallen financially yet, but somehow the Charlotte Bobcats are worth $billions and have players that make 100’s of millions. Have you been to Charlotte?

    How does that work?

    Anyway they overpaid players with generational money and now instead of throwing caution to the wind and playing harder and as if they have nothing to lose, these athletes are Soft and corupt.

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