Draymond Green in a 2021 press conference. Dec 13, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) talks to media after the game against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green released a candid, self-critical new episode of his self-titled podcast on Monday as he returns from an NBA suspension, and revealed how a take from Stephen A. Smith “crushed” him while he was away from the Golden State Warriors.

Green was suspended in mid-December after striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face during a game. He missed 12 games before being cleared by the league to return this past weekend.

But during the suspension, Green saw Stephen A. Smith say something on First Take that got to him. Not because Smith criticized him personally, but because Smith blasted teammate Steph Curry for the fallout from Green’s behavior.

“One thing throughout this process that really hurt me is I turned on the TV screen and Stephen A. Smith was like, ‘Steph is a bad leader, Draymond did X.’ It pissed me off and it crushed me,” Green explained on the newly-extended The Draymond Green Show. “It crushed me because how is Steph enduring being a bad leader? This guy doesn’t give us anything to tear him down about.”

It was a reality check for Green to really digest how his actions affect other people. Obviously, being suspended required the Warriors to play without their defensive anchor. But Green seemed to realize on a personal level that someone else’s reputation could be caught in the crossfire.

Because it was a beloved teammate and leader like Curry, it stung even more.

“This guy does everything the right way, and yet he’s being torn down because of my actions? Crushing,” Green added. “That was a tough one to see, that was a tough blow. And because he got crushed publicly for that, I’m going to apologize publicly. I sincerely apologize to Steph for my actions. Because that was a tough pill to swallow.”

In true Curry fashion, Green said the two-time MVP checked on him most days throughout the suspension.

Now, Green is expected to be back in uniform alongside Curry in the near future. Green said he wants to own his mistakes and finally take the steps to right his wrongs so that folks like Curry don’t get criticized as a result.

[The Draymond Green Show on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.