Before the Clippers held their training camp in Las Vegas, Coach Doc Rivers was questioned whether Sin City was a good place to take his players.
Turns out those questions were valid.
Clippers All-Star foward Blake Griffin has been charged with one count of misdemeanor battery after an incident in Las Vegas during the preseason.
The case filed in Las Vegas Justice Court alleges that Griffin squeezed the hand and shoulder of and/or slapped Daniel Schuman, 39, in the face over an incident involving the use of a camera at Tao Nightclub.
At Thursday’s practice, Clippers Coach Rivers was asked whether he’d reconsider holding training camp there again after the incident that happened after an exhibition game against the Denver Nuggets at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
“Well it didn’t happen during training camp, it happened [after] the game when we came back,” Rivers said. “No, they’re adults. Have any of you guys ever been out in Vegas? The difference is, people don’t get excited when they see you.
“I think the game we play there is a very good game for our organization and we have a great relationshp with Mandalay Bay, so we’re not going to stop doing that.”
Griffin said Thursday that the charges are a distraction, though he declined to talk about the case.
“I love Blake, support Blake, and this will work out,” Rivers said. “Blake was more upset that he thought it was a distraction, any distraction for the team and he doesn’t want that. I think that’s great that he feels that way. I’m always more concerned with the individual involved.”
Griffin faces an initial court date of Dec. 8 at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. According to Nevada law, misdemeanor battery carries a range of possible penalties including six months of jail and/or a $1,000 fine or community service in lieu of jail time.
Rivers expressed empathy for what Griffin is going through.
“You know, we all have situations,” Rivers said. “I"m sure you guys have some, we just don’t get to read about them. I wish we could, to be honest. Things happen. I don’t think anyone -- and I know on this team -- doesn’t intend for them to happen, but we’re young, a lot of our guys are young, and they learn and you look at it as a positive thing where we can all learn from it as a group.”