Anyone that has watched the Pelicans this season knows that Zion Williamson lives at the rim. Unsurprisingly, a player as big and athletic as him has found most of his success when he’s going towards the basket and daring the defense to stop him. For the most part, this is effective, but there’s one part of this strategy that can be irritating for players like him: He’s not always going to get calls from the referees, because a case can be made that he gets fouled on every possession.
Williamson is one of those players who gets hacked a lot and doesn’t always get a whistle. For Pelicans executive David Griffin, Williamson’s lack of calls reached a boiling point after he was listed as being out indefinitely due to a finger injury. Griffin said that the way Williamson is officiated is an example of the league “encouraging violence” against him.
Comments like this don’t usually sit well with the NBA, so it was a surprise to no one when the NBA announced it had fined Griffin for $50,000.
The following was released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/i5HHHY1Ty1
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 9, 2021
Honestly, considering the circumstances, this feels like Griffin got off a little easier than one might have thought. Usually when someone makes a comment implying a grand conspiracy against their team or player, that is going to lead to a harsh punishment by the league. Walking away with a standard fine that players, coaches, and execs receive for criticizing the officiating is probably the best-case scenario for Griffin.