Earlier today, the NBA released a statement announcing that New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin has been fined for public criticism of officials regarding Zion Williamson’s injury. Griffin is the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations.
The New Orleans Pelicans general manager had blamed a lack of protection from officials for Zion Williamson’s latest injury, a fracture in his left hand that has forced him out “indefinitely.” Williamson was seen clutching his finger as he attempted to go for a rebound in the Pelicans’ victory over the Golden State Warriors.
David Griffin responded by claiming that Zion Williamson regularly gets “unfair contact” while driving into the paint.
“He’s injured now because of the open season there’s been on him in the paint. He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis. We failed. We did not protect (Zion).”
New Orleans Pelicans’ GM David Griffin gets fined after slamming officials for not “protecting” Zion Williamson
Earlier today, the NBA released the following statement regarding David Griffin’s comments. Griffin’s remarks were made to the media on 7th May, leading to a fine of $50,000. Zion Williamson’ playing style and willingness to drive to the paint often leads him to be exposed to contact.
Griffin had made the comments during a scathing 13-minute press conference wherein he claimed that Zion Williamson’s injury was a result of an “accumulation of hits.”
“I believe he probably suffered the injury over a period of time. It’s a striking injury. It’s a blunt-force injury. 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.”
The New Orleans Pelicans are currently at a critical stage. They are 11th in the Western Conference and are still in the hunt for a place in the Play-In tournament.
However, injuries to Williamson and Brandon Ingram have come at a delicate time, leaving the Pelicans in need of a change in fortunes to make their way into the post-season. Griffin had rued Zion Williamson’s injury and called it avoidable.
“I’m really frustrated because this was avoidable. We told the NBA through every means available to us, through sending in film, through speaking to everybody in the officials department and everybody in basketball operations, that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured. And quite frankly, he’s injured because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint.”
Griffin had also remarked that “more violence is encouraged against Zion than any other player since the days of Shaquille O’Neal.” Since the press conference, Griffin was expected to be fined by the NBA, as announced earlier today.