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Gary Payton II: I believe Dillon Brooks

Dillon Brooks and Gary Payton II in Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies - Game One

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MAY 01: Gary Payton II #0 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 01, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

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Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks – who injured Gary Payton with a dirty hit – said he didn’t mean to hurt the Warriors guard.

Payton in The Players’ Tribune:

Also, for the record: There’s no bad blood between me and Dillon. After we closed out Game 6, I got word that he wanted to talk outside the locker room, and when I got there he apologized. I give Dillon a lot of credit for that — no text, no social media, nothing indirect. He came in person, and we talked like grown men. He told me he didn’t mean to hurt me. I believe him.

Many people – in the Bay Area and beyond – vilified Brooks. At minimum, Brooks was reckless. Personally, I think that’s too generous. He clubbed an airborne Payton with what looked like, in the heat of the moment, an attempt to inflict damage.

But if Payton isn’t holding a grudge, how upset can everyone else be?