Blake Griffin is already paying a price for the Jan. 23 incident in which he punched a Los Angeles Clippers staff member, as the all-star forward broke his hand in the process and is out for upwards of two more weeks. On Tuesday, the team announced additional punishment for Griffin: a four-game suspension without pay, plus the withholding of another game’s worth of wages.
“We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization,” the team said in a statement. “Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team. He understands his actions have consequences, and is eager to get back to work with his teammates, the organization and Clipper Nation which starts immediately with rehab, appearances and attendance at games.
“For our team and organization, it is time to move forward which begins today and ultimately concludes when we have Blake back on the court.”
Griffin reportedly got into an altercation with an assistant equipment manager at a Toronto restaurant while the Clippers were on a road trip. Griffin apparently had a close relationship with the employee, Matias Testi, but punched Testi enough times to inflict noteworthy injuries on both of them. A few days after that, the sixth-year veteran tweeted out this apology:
“A situation among friends escalated and I regret the way I handled myself toward someone I care about. I want to apologize to the Clippers organization, my teammates and the fans for creating a distraction. I am working with the team on a resolution and getting back in the game as soon as possible.”
No police report was filed in the incident with Testi. Griffin has had two procedures done on his hand since suffering the injury, while Los Angeles has gone 18-4 in his absence, which dates back to December because he was out with a quadriceps injury at the time of the altercation.
The Clippers said Tuesday that they will donate the money from the five games to “charities focused on disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles,” and that Griffin will also donate some of his time to the charities. The team noted that the NBA helped it determine his punishment.
The four-game suspension will begin as soon as Griffin is deemed healthy enough to play. Through 30 games played this season, he is averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists.