Draymond Green is having a really bad summer. The week before Memorial Day, he was fined $25,000 for kicking Steven Adams in the groin during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, a move that Green insisted was unintentional. The human brain has control over the arm, Green argued to journalists in a fun round of bullshitting, but not the leg. Two weeks later, in Game 4 of the Finals, Green’s brain seemingly lost the control it had (or never had), and from the floor he swung his arm into LeBron James’ crotch. He drew not only his fourth flagrant foul of the postseason, but also a suspension for Game 5, and he publicly took the blame for the Warriors’ loss in the finals, recognizing that his behavior had changed the course of a team that seemed inevitable.
In July, Green made headlines again for allegedly assaulting a Michigan State football player outside an East Lansing restaurant. The fight outwardly involved the football player’s girlfriend, who alleged that members of Green’s group had choked her. Green posted bail, successfully waived arraignment, and pled not guilty (his lawyer has said he is “completely” innocent), and he is scheduled for a pretrial conference in September — after he plays, of course, for Team USA in the Olympics.
A championship loss, assault charges, and two nut-tapping scandals would be enough to qualify these months as a low point. But there’s more: Last Sunday, Draymond Green accidentally sent a picture of his penis, in subpar lighting, to all of his Snapchat followers. The picture stayed out in the ether for 10 minutes before he deleted it, and for days afterward everyone (especially his USA teammates) made fun of him. As an immediate response, Green tweeted the rote excuse that he had been “hacked…” and that he “can’t win right now.” His mom retweeted that without commentary. The Breakfast Club Bestowed “Donkey of the Day” honors on him and gave his dick a 4. His most recent tweet is simply “Lol sheesh.” But hey, did you get offered $100k to make a porn after your nudes leaked?
His more elaborate statements to the press have suggested a heavy heart and a hope that this mistake will fuel his “development” as a player and a person. As an errant nude doesn’t require NBA officials or Michigan judges to decide anything, no one was harder on Draymond than himself. While he’s lucky there’s no league fine for looking like an ass, he still happens to look like an ass. He is the person with the most to process about the situation. In the words of another Snapchat impresario, Draymond Green did the one thing you should never do — he played himself.
The personal lives of athletes are not entirely mysteries. Men who play professional sports tend to sleep around, take advantage of their status with fans, and cheat on their wives, feeding off an atmosphere of entitlement in the workplace. Wild rumors about endowment have filled in sports legends like Technicolor. Impolite speculation has gone in a remarkably literal direction thanks to blogs like Deadspin, which for a time published leaked nudes so regularly that it was charged with ruining careers, albeit by a relative of one of the embarrassed players. That embarrassed player was Brett Favre in 2010, who apparently liked to text pictures of his junk to women who worked for the Jets in 2008. Although the list of exposed sportsmen is long enough to warrant a glossary (my first-draft entries would include Chatroulette, coffee cups and Metta World Peace), Favre is the one who had the most at stake — a hall-of-fame legacy, with crazy records for the most pass completions and the most wins, plus one Super Bowl, one cameo in There’s Something About Mary, etc. — and who got away with alleged harassment the most blatantly. The NFL, fingers-in-ears style, did not find that Favre had done anything wrong, and Favre paid a fine for his “failure to cooperate,” which amounted to $50,000. The subtext of the investigation was irritation at having to do any investigating at all.
In other words, there are just different rules for the kind of workplace where a man with the earnest nickname “The Gunslinger” sends masturbation pics to coworkers he thinks are cute. There is too much irony, too much allowance in general in these situations, and your bosses will look the other way. What matters usually is not the crime itself, which is not that hard in these circumstances among mostly consenting adults, but who gets the most of the shame. In Favre’s case, it was definitely not him, despite one shot of him in Crocs; in almost all the other cases I can think of, on the list of boxers, football players, and basketball stars who have been caught taking a picture in an unclean bathroom mirror, the joke isn’t on the subject of the photograph.
But Draymond is different, managing to be something that all the others aren’t: He’s not hurting anyone except himself. So rarely do we get a scandal about a dick pic that doesn’t involve a fortunate man exploiting his power over unpowerful women or girls. This is a fairly dopey thing that has no consequence but embarrassment, after a lot of stupid things that he did this year. In that way, the whole thing is kind of a joy. Who hasn’t been one click away from putting something in the wrong place? It’s delightfully relatable.
Rarely do we get a situation that requires so little guesswork. If I had to come up with a scenario for the picture in question, I would imagine Draymond was bored, probably on the plane with Team USA, who were all napping or doing their own thing on their phones. Maybe he was frustrated. Maybe he was procrastinating some important decision. Maybe he was just lonely. So he did what a lot of people do out of extreme horniness, lust or even love (I’m kidding, it’s never love) — he took a picture of his dick, to send to someone miles away. Maybe she had already sent him something, and he had to reply. Maybe Draymond impulsively wanted to reach out. Maybe it was five people he wanted to send it to, instead of one, but you know what, let’s be romantic about it. Whoever she is, she doesn’t truly know how special she’s become.