Ryan Clark ESPN Ryan Clark on “The Pivot” Podcast.

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of how therapy can be a resource for people, and Ryan Clark’s comments about Draymond Green are a textbook example.

We’re not here to necessarily pick on Clark, but there’s a disconnect here that therapy can help everyone in all circumstances, even Green.

We aren’t going to sit here and pretend to know Green’s mental health history. Still, impulse control (or lack thereof) in his instance is a genuine reason to seek counseling, and it shouldn’t be illegitimatized because Green striking Jusuf Nurkić across the face technically didn’t constitute a crime.

That’s not to say when Green put his hands on Jordan Poole, he didn’t commit a crime, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s a different subject for a different day. Instead, we must look at why therapy can be a vital resource, even with Clark saying over the weekend that “the hope Draymond gets the help he needs talk has gone a bit far.”

“I don’t think he needs counseling,” Clark said of Green. “I just think he has poor, competitive impulse control. It would be one thing to me if Draymond Green was brandishing guns on video. If Draymond Green was getting calls for domestic abuse. If Draymond Green was facing accusations of being a deadbeat dad and not taking care of his kids. Draymond Green doesn’t have that. Draymond Green ain’t fighting at restaurants. Draymond Green isn’t some menace to society; Draymond Green does stupid things when he steps on the hardwood or in between the lines or gyms when it comes to controlling himself as it pertains to his profession. You don’t need counseling for that; you need to be a freaking adult. And you need to be a professional, period.”

First off, as defined by the Cleveland Clinic, Impulse Control Disorders (ICDs) are a group of behavioral conditions that make it difficult to control your actions or reactions. These problematic behaviors often cause harm to others and yourself. They can also lead to issues with the law. Some examples of these behaviors include angry outbursts.

Suggesting Green needs to “be a freaking adult” dismisses the possibility that he might struggle with managing his emotions or have deeper issues contributing to his behavior. Seeking professional help doesn’t imply weakness; it can signify strength and a desire to improve.

If Draymond’s impulse control issues solely affect him on the basketball court, he may need to address the issue independently.

Is there anywhere in the country where you clock a co-worker clean in the face and receive a few days off? If he’s a “professional” and an “adult” in all other aspects of his life, as Clark constitutes, why is this only happening in this workplace?

Do you know where Draymond could learn why? In therapy.

While it’s understandable to dismiss therapy as an “excuse” due to lingering stigma, especially in competitive environments like athletics, athletes like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan openly discussed their experiences to help normalize seeking help for mental and emotional health.

So why does Clark look at it as an “excuse?”

It’s important to acknowledge that the need for counseling isn’t an excuse for bad behavior. While Green could undoubtedly do a better job of conducting himself professionally, seeking professional help is exactly what mental health professionals are there for. Many teams have mental health professionals on staff to deal with instances like this. By working with a therapist, Green could learn to channel his impulses better and conduct himself in a way that is more appropriate and respectful toward others.

You do not need to be a “degenerate” to go to therapy.

Therapy isn’t solely for “major” issues like domestic abuse or criminal activity. It can add variety to concerns, including anger management, emotional regularity, and communication skills. These areas can all impact professional performance, even if other aspects of life seem “in control.”

We said we weren’t going to pick on Clark here, but insinuating that therapy or counseling is only for criminal offenders is a deep, dark path that we shouldn’t be going down. In a generation where mental health has come to the forefront of the conversation, pretending that only “real” issues are the ones that need to be talked about is a disservice to the mental health professionals, not just in this country but the world, who see clients reap the benefits of everything treatment has to offer.

Clark’s comments are puzzling, given that he has been a leading advocate for normalizing mental health awareness among men. Clark previously stated, “Needing something and admitting to it is a sign of bravery, not weakness.” However, it’s unclear how he reconciles his statement that Green doesn’t need counseling with his role as the host of the podcast The Pivot, which promotes the tagline “Accept, Adjust & Move Forward.” The podcast provides a forum for guests, often men in sports and entertainment, to have candid, in-depth conversations about challenging experiences and how they overcame them.

Clark’s advice to Green may be based on his interpretation of Green’s situation and needs. Although Clark encourages seeking help in general, he may not consider it necessary for Green. This does not detract from Clark’s efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues among men, but it does highlight a disconnection.

Ultimately, the decision to seek professional help rests with Draymond himself. His goal should be to equip him with additional tools and resources to manage his emotions and navigate high-pressure situations more effectively, whether it’s labeled therapy, counseling, or something else. It’s important to remember that professional athletes also face complex psychological demands, and prioritizing mental well-being should be seen as a sign of strength and commitment to individual and team success.

That’s not to say that this absolves Green of his actions, but it’s a step in the right direction, whether or not Clark believes it to be.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.