The NBA is investigating an incident in which Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin allegedly broke his hand punching a member of the team's equipment staff, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Griffin has been suspended as a result of the incident.
Continue for updates.
Griffin Suspended for 4 Games
Tuesday, Feb. 9
The Clippers announced Griffin has been suspended without pay for four games, per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register:
Clippers announcement on Griffin's punishment pic.twitter.com/SEw5FY3D3M— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 9, 2016
Latest on Investigation Timeline
Saturday, Jan. 30
Chris Broussard of ESPN reported "after the league spoke with Griffin about the incident Friday, the Clippers were under the impression that the investigation was over and an announcement on any discipline for Griffin would be made early next week. But a league source said the NBA is still looking into the situation and there is no timetable for an announcement."
Griffin Punishment Reportedly Would Come from Team
Thursday, Jan. 28
Shelburne reported that while the Clippers, NBA and NBAPA are investigating the incident, any punishment handed down to Griffin is expected to come from the Clippers, "while the league makes sure it's appropriate."
Jordan, Resendez Questioned by NBA
Thursday, Jan. 28
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Joe Resendez, Los Angeles' assistant athletic trainer/travel manager, were interviewed by league security Wednesday regarding the fight that resulted in Griffin's broken hand.
Turner noted both men were at the restaurant when the alleged fight occurred and that league officials "were trying to find out what Jordan and Resendez knew about the altercation during the dinner."
Griffin to Miss Extended Time with Injury as League Looks into Altercation
Griffin is expected to be out "a matter of weeks" due to the injury, and the equipment staffer, whom Sam Amick of USA Today identified as Matias Testi, suffered injuries to his face. Arash Markazi of ESPN provided details on Testi's relationship with Griffin:
Testi isn't just a staffer; he vacations with Blake & DeAndre. Was part of the crew w/ Blake that went to Houston to sign DJ. Odd situation.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 26, 2016
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times indicated Testi has a swollen face, but no fractures, and it's unclear if he will file a lawsuit at this time.
Head coach Doc Rivers said Testi will rejoin the Clippers, per Bolch.
While the NBA is investigating, TMZ reported the Toronto Police Department is not investigating because a report was never filed.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports provided a statement from the Clippers:
The Clippers say Blake Griffin is out 4-6 weeks after breaking in right hand after throwing a punch. pic.twitter.com/20gPhRtCTc— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 26, 2016
The Clippers had already been without Griffin since their Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers due to a quad injury. There were signs Griffin was nearing a return, most notably his decision to travel with the team on its recent road trip. Griffin and the staffer were sent home after the incident.
Details on the incident are still being investigated, but Griffin allegedly punched Testi twice. Eaves' report said Griffin hit an equipment staffer once inside the restaurant before following him outside and striking him again. The staff member is said to be close off-court friends with Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Even if the Toronto police department chooses to not get involved, there is recent precedent for the NBA to hand down a punishment. In December 2015, the league suspended Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes two games for assaulting New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher in a domestic dispute earlier in the year.
The situations here have obviously different contexts—Barnes supposedly drove to the home of his former wife to confront Fisher, while Griffin's situation appears to be more of a mutual argument that escalated too far—but the league's reaction here will be interesting. The NBA does not typically get involved with locker room skirmishes, allowing teams to handle those situations internally. But the public nature of the incident combined with Griffin assaulting a staff member rather than another player may force the NBA's disciplinary hand.
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