NEW YORK -- New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Sunday for his remarks criticizing league officiating after star forward Zion Williamson suffered a broken finger.
Griffin, the Pelicans' executive vice president of basketball operations, was punished for public criticism of the officiating and comments detrimental to the NBA.
Williamson was revealed to have a fractured left ring finger on Friday that will sideline him indefinitely.
Griffin said he was "frustrated" by the injury to Williamson because "this was avoidable" if referees would properly call fouls upon those who defend Williamson, saying the violence against him was "egregious and horrific" by opponents.
Griffin said the team sent film to the NBA, spoke to basketball operations and officiating departments because it felt "the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured.
"And quite frankly, he's injured because of the open season that there has been on Zion Williamson in the paint. He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis."
Williamson is averaging 27.0 points a game and has grabbed 7.2 rebounds and passed off 3.7 assists a game.
At 30-37, the Pelicans rank 11th in the Western Conference with the top 10 having a chance to compete in the post-season. They are two games behind 10th-place San Antonio.
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