MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Jackson was his usual self with the media after Wednesday's shootaround: smiling, joking, breaking down basketball. But the moment controversy involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin was brought up, his disposition changed dramatically.
"It's sad," Jackson said. "I think everybody should be held accountable because that should not take place without players knowing, coaches knowing, management knowing. It's just disappointing."
Jackson deemed the treatment of Martin unacceptable under any circumstances. He said the bigger blame falls on the culture of the Miami Dolphins, which either fostered or turned a blind eye to what was going on.
"You've got to make sure you have the right people in the locker room," Jackson said. "People who not only care about winning, but more importantly carry the flag of the organization. And the Miami Dolphins have failed."
Last month, the Warriors publicly had fun with their rookies in a live stream of practice. Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic were given children's backpacks to wear around throughout the season, a team tradition.
Rookies have been the punch line of pranks for years with Golden State. Last season, Kent Bazemore had his car filled with popcorn and Festus Ezeli walked into the locker room to see one of the tires to his car laying on the floor.
But Jackson said there is a big difference between hazing and playfully inviting the first-year players into the family fold. Having fun at the expense of rookies serves to make players feel like one of the guys, to anecdotally teach them about the hierarchy of the locker room, and relieve some of the pressure that comes with transitioning into the NBA.
But Jackson pointed out the pranks and jabs are not limited to rookies, or even the players. And he made sure to point out that jokes were supplemented with constant support and encouragement.
"I don't believe in rookie hazing," Jackson said. "I believe in rookies doing stuff as rookies. Getting coffee. Getting donuts. Picking up a tab. Not a $15,000 or $30,000 tab. I don't care who you are, that's disrespectful. One thing our guys did last year, they took the rookies to dinner and made the rookies pick up the tab. But I will guarantee you every single one of those rookies received more than what they spent that night. You've got a guy wearing a Gucci bag today because a veteran bought it. You got a guy carrying an iPhone 5S today because a veteran bought it. They've bought rookies clothes, took them out to dinner, bought them iPads. That's how you treat the rookies. I think we've got it twisted as a society."
Jackson said it becomes hazing when it's disrespectful and the purpose is to humiliate.
But that tone is set, he said, by the leaders of the organization. Organizations have to care about players and their well being, and that sentiment will permeate the locker room.
"An old preacher once said, 'Preach, and if necessary use words.' They watch you. They watch how you conduct yourself. They watch how you treat people. Before long, it becomes contagious. They start saying, 'Good morning.' They start asking you how you're doing and actually listening to your response. They start caring about each other. At the end of the day, I think that's what it's all about: impacting lives and living your life to the point where your light is shining. And, obviously, in that Dolphins locker room it was pretty dark."