Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum punched Juan Carlos Navarro in the crotch during a 2012 London Olympics quarterfinal game between France and Spain on Wednesday. Here's a GIF.
The foul, which did not earn an ejection, occurred with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter after France had taken issue with Spain's simulation of fouls. Spain went on to defeat France, 66-59, eliminating the French from the Olympics. Spain advances to the semifinals where they will face Russia, who defeated Lithuania, 83-74, earlier on Wednesday.
Batum finished the game with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block on 3-for-12 shooting in 32 minutes.
Update: Blazers coach Terry Stotts offered these thoughts to Blazersedge regarding Batum's foul following Stotts' introductory press conference on Wednesday. Blazers GM Neil Olshey tried to downplay it while also pleading ignorance during the press conference. His quotes are here. Note: transcript of press conference is coming.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports on Twitter Batum's post-game comments.
"I wanted to give him a good reason to flop," Batum said.
Told Batum some won't think groin shot is in Olympic spirit. Batum: "Do you think if you lost a game on purpose, that's the Olympic spirit?"
Batum said he believes that Spain tanked final preliminary game against Brazil to face France in quarterfinals.
Finally, I asked Batum if he felt like his punch ultimately gave Navarro a 'good reason' to flop. "I hope so," Batum said.
Update: Batum has since issued an apology on Twitter.
I want to apologize for my stupid act at the end, I showed a bad image of France and myself, Congrats to team Spain. Still proud of my team and teamates, we gave the best from ourselves for our country. Now I cheers for the women bball team!
Here's a frame-by-frame look. Bigger version here.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter