Griffin attributed Williamson’s fractured left ring finger to NBA officials.
David Griffin, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, just got a little lighter in the wallet. Griffin was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Sunday for public criticism of officiating as well as comments deemed detrimental to the league.
Griffin was fined for comments he made on May 7 about how referees treat Pelicans All-Star forward Zion Williamson. Williamson is out indefinitely with a fractured left ring finger, which Griffin attributes to the way he is officiated.
“I’m really frustrated because this could have been avoided,” Griffin said. “We told the NBA through every means available to us, including sending in film and speaking with everyone in the official’s department and everyone in basketball operations, that the way they were officiating Zion was going to injure him.”
“Quite frankly, he’s injured now as a result of the open season on Zion Williamson in the paint.” He’s been consistently mauled in the paint, to the point where other players have told him, ‘I’m going to keep doing this to you because they don’t call it.’ More violence is encouraged in the paint against Zion Williamson than against any other player I’ve seen since Shaq. It was heinous and horrifying back then, and it is still so today.”
Griffin has a valid point. The league has never had a player with Williamson’s combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism, and it appears that officials are still figuring out how to call Williamson’s games correctly. Griffin can clearly afford the fine, and if his comments ultimately change the way Williamson is officiated, Griffin and the Pelicans will have been well compensated.