LA Clippers suspend Blake Griffin for four games without pay for punch
Blake Griffin was suspended four games without pay on Tuesday for punching a team staff member, and the Los Angeles Clippers will dock the star forward’s pay for an additional game because he broke his shooting hand.
In all, Griffin will lose US$859,442 from his season salary of US$18,907,725.
A team spokesman said the suspension will begin when Griffin is healthy, cleared to play and active. He was expected to be out four-to-six weeks while his hand heals from the January 23 altercation in Toronto.
The spokesman said the fine was issued by the Clippers, with the NBA assisting in the investigation of the incident as well as in the disciplinary process. No other punishment from the league is expected.
The Clippers end a four-game road trip on Wednesday night in Boston before the All-Star break this weekend. They resume play with a four-game homestand starting on February 18 against San Antonio.
The Clippers will donate Griffin’s salary from the five games to charities that help disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles. The team said Griffin asked to donate his time to the organisations.
“We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organisation,” team owner Steve Ballmer and coach Doc Rivers said in a joint statement. “Blake is remorseful and has apologised for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team.”
Ballmer and Rivers, who also is president of basketball operations, said Griffin is eager to get back to work, which starts immediately with rehab, appearances and attendance at games.
Griffin has been away from the team since he punched assistant equipment manager Matias Testi last month. Testi has yet to rejoin the team, although he is expected to at some point.
The Clippers are 18-4 without Griffin, who has been out since December 26 with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon. He was close to returning from that injury when he punched Testi, who sustained multiple facial injuries. Both men were sent back to Los Angeles, where Griffin had an operation on his hand.
There was no immediate comment from Griffin. He has been off Twitter since January 26 when he posted an apology on the social media site, where he is a frequent user. He and Testi are friends and Griffin described him as “someone I care about”.
A person with knowledge of the incident said last month that Griffin and Testi got into an argument during dinner that escalated. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Clippers had not confirmed those details publicly. Rivers said later that both men had been drinking.
Griffin was averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists before being sidelined. He missed being selected to the All-Star game in Toronto for the first time in his six-year career because of his absence.