An altercation involving Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green in East Lansing, Mich., last summer has now become the subject of a lawsuit. On July 10, 2016, Green was arrested for misdemeanor assault after he and another man, former Michigan State cornerback Jermaine Edmondson, tangled outside Conrad's Grill in downtown East Lansing. Prosecutors later dropped the charge after Green agreed to pay a $560 fine for a municipal noise violation.
As detailed on The Crossover on Monday, Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom filed a lawsuit in a California Superior Court on behalf of Edmondson and Edmondson’s girlfriend, Bianca Williams, who, like Edmondson, is a Michigan State alumnus. The lawsuit alleges that Green punched Edmondson in the face and is responsible for both Edmondson and Williams being choked by men who accompanied Green.
On Tuesday, Edmondson, Williams and Bloom hosted a press conference at Bloom’s law firm. A video of the 17-minute press conference can be viewed at the Bloom Firm’s Facebook page.
During the press conference, Edmondson explained that Green bumped into him in East Lansing’s Rick’s American café. The unexpected bump, which led Edmondson to tell Green, “you could at least say excuse me.” As Edmondson tells it, Green didn’t react very well to Edmondson’s admonishment about the need to say excuse me. In fact, Green allegedly got in front of Edmondson—a recipient of a Michigan State athletic scholarship—looked him in the eye and said, “I know [n word] like you. I pay for [n word] like you scholarships.”
Before Edmondson could respond to Green’s alleged racial epithets, two men “who were following” Green grabbed Edmondson and choked him against the wall. Right after Edmondson scuffled with Green’s associates, one of the associates choked Edmondson’s girlfriend, Williams. Again, this is the plaintiff’s version of the facts and it has not (yet) been proven in a court of law.
Edmondson reports he was emotionally traumatized by the violence inflicted upon his girlfriend.
“You don’t know how it feels,” Edmondson asserts, “to see your girlfriend hurt and scared, crying.”
In her comments, Williams detailed how she and her boyfriend—who was celebrating his 22nd birthday—happened to encounter Green the following evening, except this time in a different East Lansing restaurant. The men who accompanied Green the previous evening were not present. Upon seeing Green, they told him “it wasn’t cool” that Williams was choked by one of Green’s friends.
According to Williams, Green reacted by punching Edmondson in the face.
Both Edmondson and Williams say the incident continues to cause them emotional and reputational harm.
“There are nights when I wake up crying,” Edmondson reflected. “I don’t understand why my name has been turned into this joke and he gets all this credit for being a superstar and standing up for women.”
Edmondson expressing frustration that Green has obtained “credit” for “standing up for women” is a reference to Green’s involvement with the “Lean In” organization, which focuses on equality for men and women at home and in the workplace.
For her part, Bloom contends that her clients have been “shunned and ostracized” and that Green and his associates have “put out misleading statements.” Bloom also ridiculed the Warriors for “investigating” Green’s incident but not contacting Bloom or her clients. “How’s that investigation going?” Bloom wondered aloud.
Some of Bloom’s remarks during the press conference about Green might concern points that would be deemed inadmissible in a trial. For instance, Bloom highlighted how the NBA has fined Green “for kicking and striking other players in the groin.”
Her comments allude to Green kicking Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams during the 2016 Western Conference finals and other kicks on NBA players. Green’s various transgressions on NBA courts—transgressions that have led some hoops commentators to describe Green as a bully or a cheap shot artist—are not automatically admissible in a case about whether Green hit a person outside an East Lansing restaurant.
Generally, previous incidents involving a defendant are inadmissible if used to argue that the defendant is of bad character (this is true unless the defendant makes his or her character an issue). Odds are a judge would prevent Bloom from arguing that Green’s altercation with Edmondson is consistent with the kind of violence that Green exhibits in NBA games. This form of evidence can be admissible in limited situations, however, such as when it reveals plan or intent. If Bloom could somehow connect Green’s on-court violence to his alleged off-court violence in way that relates to intent, it’s plausible his on-court conduct may be admissible.
Green doesn’t seem interested in settling, at least at this point. According to a spokesperson for Green, “Draymond looks forward to defending himself and clearing up the misinformation put forth today.”
Michael McCann, SI's legal analyst, provides legal and business analysis for The Crossover. He is also the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.