The Los Angeles Clippers just released a statement concerning their All-Star power forward Blake Griffin.
While in Toronto on January 23, Griffin got into a fight with a team staffer, Matias Testi, punching him several times which resulted in a swollen face for Testi and a broken hand for Griffin. The Clippers played the Toronto Raptors the next evening, but both Testi and Griffin were sent back to Los Angeles.
Griffin will miss four games and the money from those games — plus one more for the injuries that resulted — will be donated to charities devoted to disadvantaged youth in the Los Angeles area.
This could keep Griffin off the court until the playoffs, or close to the post-season, if the suspension begins once Griffin is healthy to play. Right now their record is 35-17, and they are in second place in the Pacific Division — 12 games behind the league-leading Golden State Warriors. They are fourth in the Western Conference.
Griffin has been out of the lineup since December 26, after he injured a quadriceps muscle in a game against the Lakers the day before. Since then the Clippers have gone 18-4 without their best scorer.
Although the altercation spawned numerous trade rumors, the Clippers management said they had no interest in a trade.
Below is the team’s statement.
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The following is a joint statement from L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Doc Rivers:
The L.A. Clippers announced today that forward Blake Griffin has been suspended without pay for four games for striking a team employee on Jan. 23 and his wages will be withheld for one additional game for injuries he sustained. The NBA has assisted us in this process.
The Clippers will donate the salary from the five games to charities focused on disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles. At his request, Blake will support this activity with his time.
We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization. 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.
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Doc Rivers talked about what was going on with Blake in January after the team returned from its road trip. Below is the video of that press conference, by Claudia Gestro.
Claudia Gestro contributed to this article, including the top photo.
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