After the Warriors’ Game 5 win over the Spurs, Draymond Green was asked about video of a jacket incident. Green:
Obviously it’s unfortunate. I think, you know, what it boils down to it, it’s a jacket but I think it’s more so the principle. You’re in your own space and you want to return your jacket, and all of us do and so I think it’s more so the principle than the actual thing.
Like, you know, if I got a dollar sitting here, it’s a dollar, but it’s my dollar. I wouldn’t expect nobody to take it. That’s an unfortunate situation. We got a great front office and great media PR staff that will figure it all out.
Green was talking about a video of KGO-TV sports anchor Mike Shumann.
Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Shumann, the former 49ers receiver who has been with KGO since 1994, was in San Antonio last week to provide coverage of the Warriors-Spurs playoff series. He was captured on video after practice last Thursday bending over, picking up a jacket, folding it and walking out of AT&T Center. The jacket, it was later, confirmed, belonged to Warriors security manager Ralph Walker, who had not given Shumann permission to take it.
Approached about the incident, Shumann returned the jacket, apologized and also tried to explain his actions, essentially saying he wasn’t thinking clearly.
Insofar as Shumann is a Disney Company employee — Disney owns ABC and ESPN — the matter put the Warriors organization in a compromised position. Disney’s contract with the NBA gives ABC affiliates exclusive access on specific telecasts, something the Warriors take seriously. In their attempt to control the damage and preserve status quo with Shumann, they wanted to consider the matter a benign misunderstanding.
The players were not in such a forgiving mood. They urged that action be taken, partly out of loyalty to Walker but largely because of their belief the incident would not have been taken so lightly likely if the jacket had been removed by a person of color.
They smelled a double standard.
I’ve been professionally acquainted with Mike for years and had never formed an opinion of his character. I heard what had happened, followed up with a few people and became aware of how the team felt. I saw the video and considered it bizarre behavior on his part.
Maybe that’s all it is. Or maybe there is some medical or psychological explanation.
Some Warriors were merely bothered by the entire episode, others were outraged — mostly about the attempt to bury it.
My inclination in most circumstances is to give people the benefit of the doubt absent other information. Maybe this was an innocent mistake, a joke gone awry or, as Poole wondered, a medical or psychological episode.
But I also recognize that white people are more likely to receive that benefit of the doubt-.
The solution isn’t to throw Schumann under the bus without a better understanding of what happened. It’s to extend everyone that courtesy. Fairness doesn’t require extending vindictiveness.
This is only complicated by the NBA’s relationship with Schumann’s company. When justice and business interests align, it’s easier. When they diverge, it gets harder.
The Warriors have developed a cohesiveness throughout their organization (also easier done while winning). They must manage this incident to avoid undermining those bonds.