Now, we know the story. Now, we know what all the secrecy was about. Now, we know why the Heat suspended Gerald Green for conduct unbecoming. Now, we know Gerald Green had bloody hands. Now, we know he went out his condo, collapsed, came back in and when someone tried to restrain him, Gerald Green punched an unidentified victim in the face. Now, we know Gerald Green was handcuffed. But the truth always leaves something on the sidelines, the full context is always missing.
Nevertheless, for a story with not much in the way of extraordinary details, why so much cloak and dagger subterfuge? Really? Gerald Green did a very reactionary thing. He punched someone. He punched someone in the face. He was bleeding. At one point, he passed out.
The Heat coddled this story, dragging it into the mysterious realm when it was just one of those violent altercations. The police report labeled Green as “agitated”, according to the Miami Sun Sentinel who obtained the document.
The Heat were totally within their boundaries to levy a punishment, and if Green was the instigator, which the police report clearly states, why make such a big deal about it when eventually it was all going to be public information? Unless, there is one more chapter we still don’t know. Why were his hands bloody? Without any apparent injuries, why was he held in the hospital?
Let’s not get it twisted about Gerald Green. He’s not a star. He’s played on two teams in Russia, three D-League teams, the Timberwolves, Rockets, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers and Suns. But he was protected like he was a superstar when at best he is a role player who for the past three years has, for the most part, gotten his game and his mental approach together. That was always the consistent knock on Green. He was immature. He didn’t know what he didn’t know.
He was missed last night against the Lakers. When Nick Young went on his second quarter run it was because the Heat didn’t have a counter. On Thursday, against the Jazz, he will be missed again. The Jazz are the best defensive team in the league. All weapons will be needed. Green will be back with the Heat on Friday.
Green, who hasn’t been seen in a week, released a statment of contrition, accepting the punishment handed down by his bosses.
“I want to apologize to my family, fans and the HEAT organization. I accept the suspension and look forward to rejoining my teammates this weekend.”
Transparency has been an outlier here the past week. It dragged the story into a gossipy realm. Information has been conspicuously absent regarding Green, his care, his situation, what happened to him. Even though it was serious enough to keep him in the hospital for a few days, all channels shut down the flow of information.
Rarely, does a situation present itself with no one, absolutely no one talking. The Heat were annoyingly repetitive, to the point of dullness. Green was safe. Green was healthy. Green was fine. Green was safe. His family was in their thoughts and prayers. Why not say, Green punched someone. He was reactive. He was out of control. We’ll discipline him when he recovers.
Clearly the Heat knew their less is more strategy exponentially increased the curiosity factor and were willing to take their chances. A variety of scenarios/rumors/speculation, none of which had Green doing something that would end in a suspension, or Green apologizing, were part of the volume of theories that including Green having some sickness, being on drugs, harming himself, involved in a domestic dispute, in the midst of a psychotic episode. When Green released a public apology to his family, all those narratives went south except for the possibility of a drug interaction gone bad or a mental health episode.
The reported facts were that at his condo Green was “combative” enough for Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue to request further assistance. The 911 call referred to Green as bleeding and passed out.
Secrecy has its purpose but it is rare for teams to suspend their own players. They leave most punishment matters up to the league office. But Pat Riley has always been authoritarian and parental, clear about following his protocol and agenda. He sets the boundaries and there are two choices: obey or suffer.
For a league that loves the athletic, Gerald Green has bounced around for much of his career. He was a first round pick (18th) by the Celtics in 2005, a high schooler from Houston with huge athleticism but clueless about the game itself. Most scouts believed he altered his trajectory by missing out on a year in college which would have matured him. He was already fined this season for menacing gestures.
On Friday when he returns to practice, this incident will be one more chapter people will talk about in the Gerald Green story. Expectations are for Green to be questioned about it with contrite and answers of humility coming from Green. Then it will be over. Finally.
photo via llananba