The NBA has fined Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin $50K for “public criticism of the officiating and comments detrimental to the NBA,” the league announced (via Twitter).
Griffin’s comments came Friday in response to a fractured finger that could keep Zion Williamson out for the rest of the season, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Griffin called the injury “avoidable” and said referees are allowing opponents to enjoy an “open season” on the second-year forward.
“We told the NBA through every means available to us … that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured,” Griffin said. “Quite frankly, he’s injured because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint. He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point where other players have said to him, ‘I’m going to keep doing this to you’ because they don’t call it. There is more violence encouraged on him in the paint than any player I’ve seen since (Shaquille O’Neal). It was egregious and horrific then. The same is true now.”
Griffin said Williamson’s injury didn’t occur on a single play, but was the result of excessive contact “over a period of time.”
“It’s a blunt-force injury,” Griffin said. “He was being beaten on the hand over and over and over again. For me to tell you one time, I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think he knows one time.”