Blake Griffin’s punishment might not be known for a while


Blake Griffin takes a shot over the outstretched arm of Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka on Dec. 21.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

After trying to comprehend the “Why?” part of the Blake Griffin fight with a team employee, there remains another important question:

How long might he be suspended?

The NBA is in no hurry to announce whether it will punish the Clippers forward, who punched assistant equipment manager Matias Testi last weekend at a Toronto restaurant.

The league has sometimes taken months, not weeks, to decide in recent investigations involving altercations, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has a broad scope to rule on what he sees fit, though the players’ association can appeal any decision. It’s also possible that the Clippers would punish Griffin ahead of anything the NBA might be contemplating.


It shouldn’t take long for the league to interview the two participants in the altercation. It might be more difficult to talk to witnesses at the restaurant who are not NBA employees, seeing how they are not compelled to speak to the league.

The NBA will also try to find and analyze video footage of the fight, which started inside the restaurant and continued outside of it. Additionally, the NBA will consult with Toronto police officers to try to glean additional information.

The most recent punishment handed out by the NBA was a two-game suspension to Memphis forward Matt Barnes last month. His transgression, like Griffin’s, was off the court, and it took more than 2½ months for the league to finish its investigation. Barnes got into a fight in October with New York Coach Derek Fisher because Fisher was dating Barnes’ ex-wife.


The league took almost two months to determine that Charlotte forward Jeff Taylor should be suspended 24 games after his altercation with a woman in 2014. Taylor and the woman, with whom he was romantically involved, had been drinking and began arguing loudly at a hotel in East Lansing, Mich. Taylor slapped the woman, punched a hole in the wall and was uncooperative when police arrived on the scene. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence and malicious destruction of hotel property.

A slightly tricky component in Griffin’s situation is how long he sits out medically because of a broken hand he sustained in the fight. Any suspension might not begin until then, and the NBA would need to confer with Clippers team doctors over the official timetable and the healing process.

The Clippers have said Griffin would be out four to six weeks because of his hand. Their regular season ends April 13.

The league recently had to monitor the medical progress of Charlotte center Al Jefferson, who was sidelined by a calf injury when a five-game suspension was announced on Dec. 9 for violating the league’s anti-drug program. He began serving his suspension after his strained calf healed a week later.

The most serious suspension in NBA history was the 86 games Ron Artest was banned in 2004-05 for his role in the infamous brawl at The Palace arena in Auburn Hills, Mich. Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, went into the stands and fought with a fan as an on-court melee broke out between Detroit and Indiana. His suspension was for the rest of the season, which also included playoffs.

In December the Philadelphia 76ers suspended star rookie center Jahlil Okafor for two games after a video showed details of a fight in Boston he hadn’t revealed to the team. A man filed a report with Boston police saying he was punched and knocked to the ground outside a nightclub, authorities said. No charges have been announced.



Poll: How should the Clippers handle the Blake Griffin situation?

Clippers must send a clear message and severely punish Blake Griffin for his punch

After being punched by Blake Griffin, Clippers equipment manager told Toronto police he was OK

Get our daily Sports Report newsletter