Blake Griffin is still missing from Staples Center after an unfortunate altercation in Toronto just last week. Griffin reportedly punched a member of the equipment team, Matias Test, multiple times while he and Griffin dined together with other members of the Clippers in Toronto. Doc Rivers released a statement regarding the incident involving Griffin after the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA completed an investigation of the incident.
Griffin got into an altercation with Testi on January 23 while eating dinner together in Toronto. According to reports, Griffin punched Matias once inside the restaurant, then followed his (former) friend outside and delivered several more blows. The result was a very bruised and swollen face for Testi and a broken finger for Blake Griffin.
— LosAngelesSRH (@LosAngelesSRH) January 30, 2016
Those who witnessed the Blake Griffin beatdown are keeping quiet about the details. DeAndre Jordan and Clippers assistant athletic trainer Joe Resendez were both there when Blake went berzerk on Testi. Although details of what specifically set Griffin off have not been shared, reports claim that the incident stemmed from some good-hearted teasing that went sour and ultimately sent Blake into a rage.
“Those guys are really close friends of mine, like brothers to me,” Jordan told ESPN’s Michael Eaves after the incident. That seems to be a theme that reverberates now that the smoke has cleared. Doc Rivers said that both Testi and Griffin will be welcomed back to the team. Rivers also said that both the Clippers and the NBA are satisfied with their investigation of the fight.
Blake Griffin is expected to be out four to six weeks as he recovers from a fracture of his right ring finger. Some have cautioned that the timeframe for recovery might not be long enough, causing Clippers fans to fear the worst for the all-star Griffin. The good news is that the Clippers aren’t sounding intent on trading Blake following the altercation.
— The Source Magazine (@TheSource) January 30, 2016
Another issue facing Blake that hasn’t been addressed yet is a team-imposed or NBA-imposed penalty for punching Matias Testi. There’s a pretty good possibility that Blake might be fined or suspended and possibly even both. Rivers did say that Griffin “feels awful” about the incident. Blake is upset that he punched a friend obviously, but he was also set to return from an unrelated quadricep injury any day now. After fracturing his finger, Griffin has set back his own return date and its looking like he may not even make it back in time for playoffs if that finger doesn’t heal fast enough.
Blake Griffin offered up an apology on Twitter. Griffin posted a photo that said, “A situation among friends escalated and I regret the way I handled myself toward someone I care about. I want to apologize to the Clippers organization, my teammates, and the fans for creating a distraction.” In the same message, Blake said, “I am working with the team on a resolution and getting back in the game as soon as possible.”
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) January 27, 2016
Doc Rivers piggybacked Griffin’s apology, saying that it was a “good gesture.” Then the Clippers’ coach went on to talk about the current position the team is taking with Blake. “He feels awful about it, and he’s let everyone know that,” Rivers said. “That’s all you can do. You have to forgive people at some point. I believe that. We built Richard Nixon a library. I mean, my goodness. You forgive people. You really do. You kind of move on, and you build it back.”
There have been a lot of Blake Griffin trade rumors since the incident in Toronto last week. Many believed that the Clippers would be quick to let Griffin go after an initial statement condemned Blake’s attack on Testi. Now it looks like Rivers is open to keeping Blake on the team and it sounds like everyone is hoping that Matias Testi will forgive him and their friendship can be restored.
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]