New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin just became a little lighter in the wallet. On Sunday, the NBA announced that Griffin has been fined $50,000 for public criticism of the officiating along with comments deemed detrimental to the league.
The fine stems from comments that Griffin made May 7 regarding the way that Pelicans All-Star forward Zion Williamson is treated by referees. Williamson is sidelined indefinitely with a fractured left ring finger, and Griffin blamed the injury on the way he is officiated.
"I'm really frustrated because this was avoidable," Griffin said. "We told the NBA through every means available to us, through sending in film, through speaking to everybody in the official's department and everybody in basketball operations, that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured.
"Quite frankly, he's injured now because of the open season there's been on Zion Williamson in the paint. He's been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis, to the point that other players have said to him, 'I'm going to keep doing this to you because they don't call it.' There's more violence encouraged in the paint against Zion Williamson than any player I've seen since Shaq. It was egregious and horrific then, and the same is true now."
Griffin may have a point. The league hasn't had a player with Williamson's combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism before, and it seems as though officials are still figuring out how to correctly call Williamson's games. Griffin can obviously afford the fine, and if his comments ultimately alter the way that Williamson is officiated, it will have been well worth if for Griffin and the Pelicans.