Who is Blake Griffin?
To some, he’s the Los Angeles Clippers’ superstar basketball player, who is often seen posting impressive stats, executing entertaining dunks, and hitting clutch shots.
To others, he is viewed as the fake tough guy who appears on car commercials and receives no respect from fellow players around the league.
Whatever your current opinion may be of Griffin, it has more than likely changed with the recent incident involving the Clippers’ player.
The Clippers’ star was recently diagnosed with a broken hand on Jan. 26, leaving him out of action for roughly four to six weeks due to an altercation with a close friend and the team’s assistant equipment manager, Matias Testi.
According to sources, the conflict was centered around a restaurant in Toronto on Jan. 23, as the two were innocently teasing each other, when suddenly Griffin took offense, standing up and punching Testi in the face. The other two men at the table, Los Angeles center, Deandre Jordan, and athletic trainer, Joe Resendez, managed to break up the initial fight until Griffin would pursue Testi outside, punching him multiple times, breaking his own hand and causing minor facial injuries to the equipment manager.
Following the altercation, the police would soon arrive, interviewing both of the men. However, Testi would surprisingly refuse to press any charges.
While the NBA is currently investigating the incident, the Clippers have decided to not punish their star player for his actions, which is a mistake on their part.
Griffin has a lengthy recovery time ahead of him, and perhaps the organization preferred not to add insult to injury to their starting power forward with any action of their own. Letting the league handle his discipline should rid the team of any distraction regarding their All-Star power forward.
NBA players are seen as role models for younger children who aspire to be as great as these athletes someday, therefore, teams not punishing them for their wrong actions, especially those as serious as violence, sends the wrong message to the rest of the league and its fans.
Griffin will likely face a one or two game suspension from the league, but he deserves discipline from his own team.
When asked about Griffin, Coach Doc Rivers stated: “You have to forgive people at some point. I believe that. We built Richard Nixon a library. I mean, my goodness. You forgive people.”
Rivers makes an interesting reference to former U.S. President, Richard Nixon, who is responsible for the infamous “Watergate Scandal,” which then led to his resignation from office. Nixon resigned from the presidency and was hated by many Americans for his wrongdoings, but sixteen years after leaving the office, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum was opened in his honor.
This statement may be true, but it does not completely eliminate the justified punishment that one should receive for their misbehavior, whether it involves a renowned figure or not.
It will be interesting to see how NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will handle the situation, as fellow commissioner, Roger Goodell of the NFL, has been rightfully criticized immensely for his light punishments of NFL players accused of violent actions such as Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. Although Griffin is in a much different situation than that of Rice and Peterson, it should say a great deal about the league’s policies regarding violence going forth.
I’ve always respected the skills that Griffin possesses in his arsenal, however, he is by no means a true “tough guy.” He refuses to fight or stand up for himself when in situations on the court with players possess a stature as great as or even greater than him, but the moment that a smaller assistant equipment manager offends him, Griffin does not hesitate to attack him, breaking his own hand in the process, while hardly even damaging the “victim.”
The incident between Griffin and Testi is an embarrassment to not only those involved, but also to the whole Clippers organization and entire NBA.