Draymond Green is one of the most emotional players in the NBA. He’s known to yell, scream, and do whatever else it takes to get his teammates fired up, and at times, it gets under the skin of opposing players. It also gets under the skin of opposing fans, who routinely heckle him when he’s out on the court. And every now and then, it sounds like a fan will take things too far when it comes to heckling.
On Tuesday night, after the Warriors beat the Jazz in Game 1 of their playoff series, Green was asked about the racism that Adam Jones faced in Boston earlier this week during an Orioles game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Green acknowledged that he can relate to what Jones went through, and while he wouldn’t say exactly where he has been subjected to racism in the past, he revealed that he has been called the n-word in the middle of games.
"I’ve gotten the n-word, all of that," he told The Undefeated. "I’d rather not get into [where]. A few places, especially being that it is me. Athletes are just not protected in that regard. Maybe something like [the Adam Jones incident] will help."
Green, who serves on the advisory board for an organization called Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), also explained why he has gone out of his way to try and bring light to the racism problem that still plagues the country.
"With racism, are you born with it or is it taught?" he said. "That was the whole initial thought behind [RISE]. And honestly, I think you’re taught it. You’re not born a racist…There is a huge need for it because of instances like [Jones’]. You just try to reach as many people and educate as many people as you can. Hopefully, you can make a difference."
Green’s teammate Steph Curry, who is also on the RISE advisory board, also spoke about the Jones incident and racism with The Undefeated on Tuesday night.
"There has been progress, but people want to sweep stuff under the rug and turn a blind eye to what people go through every single day in terms of prejudice and racism," Curry said. "Obviously, there are plenty of groups, initiatives, and people trying to attack the problem, RISE being one of them. As long as I have the platform I do, I plan to use it."
The situation with Jones was an ugly one, but if nothing else, it has clearly shined a spotlight on racism and forced people to spend some time thinking about the role it plays in society today. It has also forced athletes like Green, Curry, and others to speak out against it, and hopefully, they’ll continue to do it in the coming weeks and months even as the Jones story slowly exits the news cycle.