Four days ago, with his Warriors up in the NBA finals 3-1, Draymond Green was suspended for a “retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin” of LeBron James. It wasn’t the first crotch shot; and it won’t be the last. Draymond had already conspicuously kicked Steven Adams between the legs. And others have been manhandled by Draymond's brother-from-another-sport, Marshawn Lynch.
Crotch shots are a lot older than that. They may have killed Julius Caesar and a few Roman emperors, and they absolutely have taken out more than a few chimps.
Pan troglodytes often make forays along the borders of neighboring territories, where they have a habit of castrating resident males. At Kibale Park in Uganda, 5 out of 6 adult male victims of lethal aggression between communities were castrated; and others have been emasculated in Tanzania, Gabon and on the Ivory Coast. Overall, close to half of all identified adult male victims of violence between chimpanzee groups have had parts of their genitalia removed. That's 9/22 victims, or 41 percent by a recent count.
Other chimps have been assaulted in their own backyards. At Jane Goodall’s Gombe, after the alpha male, Goblin, was overthrown, he was left with an injured and infected scrotum—but treated by veterinarians. Later, the infamous ex-alpha, Frodo, who ruled with an iron fist in Goodall’s books, died of an infected testis, probably inflicted by the canine of a disgruntled troop member. And after another alpha male, Vincent, was fatally attacked, Gombe researcher and Goodall collaborator, Michael Wilson, took a photograph: Vince's personal business was ripped off. Chimps aren’t the only apes to act like that.
Julius Caesar may have been castrated by one of his bastards. Caligula was surprised by his own soldiers, who stuck their swords in his privates. Nero just missed being stripped, stuck by the neck in a fork, and beaten to death with rods—all on his senate's orders. Elagabalus was done in in a toilet, and his cohorts were punctured through the sphincter or had their “vital parts” torn out.
More than a thousand years after Caesar, Andronikos I Komnenos became emperor of the Roman Empire out East. ‘‘The hideous and accursed lecher illicitly defiled marriage beds and despoiled virgins,’’ was the verdict of Niketas Choniates. ‘‘There was not a beautiful nun in an abbey nor the daughter of a knight or burgess whom he did not lie with by force,’’ was the verdict of William of Tyre. He was like a stallion in heat. Andronikos would set out for the countryside like a cock with his barnyard hens, or a he-goat with his she-goat herd, and approximate the sexual prowess of the cuttlefish, with aphrodisiacs from a Nilotic animal that resembled the crocodile.
So he made a bad end. One day in the summer of 1185, Andronikos was bound in shackles at the imperial palace, where his right hand was cut off and an eye was gouged out; then he was paraded through the agora on a mangy camel, where he was pelted with cow dung and ox belly secretions; then he was strung up between two poles in the Hippodrome, where his genitals were assaulted.
Draymond will be back on the court tonight, and King James better watch out.
Wherever there are testicula, a sphincter is close.