New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin has been punished by the NBA for his controversial comments on officiating, which he blamed for the injury of Zion Williamson.
The NBA announced that Griffin has been fined $50,000 for publicly criticizing officials and making comments that are “detrimental to the league.” The Pelicans exec made the remarks in a media appearance on Friday after New Orleans confirmed that Williamson will be out indefinitely due to a fractured left ring finger.
Griff's Zion comments cost him 50k pic.twitter.com/y6siIBHsMH
— John Karalis 🇬🇷 🇺🇦 (@John_Karalis) May 9, 2021
To recall, David Griffin directly blamed the officiating for allowing other players to hurt Zion Williamson without calling for fouls. According to the Pelicans EVP, this led players to abuse Zion further and even tell him that they would keep hurting him because what they’re doing to him were being ignored.
“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,” Griffin said, per Chris Clark of NOLA.com.
Griffin also pointed out that there is “more violence encouraged in the paint” against Zion–something he has never seen before since Shaquille O’Neal. He emphasized that it’s “egregious and horrific” in a call for the NBA to act now.
Sure enough, Griffin probably expected the fine to come his way before making the controversial comments. After all, it’s not the first time the league has fined someone for criticizing officials. However, the Pelicans exec likely did it to make everyone aware of the issue and help Zion get the calls he deserve.
It remains to be seen if Zion will be able to return this season as the Pelicans fight for a play-in spot. Hopefully though, he’ll be given the right calls when he comes back.