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Pelicans executive fined $50,000 for criticizing officials in wake of Zion Williamson injury

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 5/9/2021 Steve Gardner, USA TODAY
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The NBA has fined New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin $50,000 for "public criticism of the officiating and comments detrimental to the NBA."

Griffin, the team's vice president of basketball operations, expressed frustration on Friday that star player Zion Williamson's broken finger "was avoidable" if the referees had done a better job cracking down on illegal contact. 

He has absolutely been mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point where other players have said to him, 'I'm going to keep doing this to you because they don’t call it.' So, there’s more violence encouraged in the paint against Zion Williamson than any player I’ve seen since Shaq [O’Neal]," Griffin said. "It was egregious and horrific then, and the same is true now."

a man holding a basketball: New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is out indefinitely with fractured ring finger on his left hand. © Stephen Lew, USA TODAY Sports New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is out indefinitely with fractured ring finger on his left hand.

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Williamson, out indefinitely with a fractured ring finger on his left hand, is averaging 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season. The Pelicans are currently two games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the Western Conference's final play-in spot.

Griffin didn't say when the injury occurred, but said he believes it was most likely the result of an accumulation of hits over the course of the season.

"He’s injured now because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint," Griffin said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pelicans executive fined $50,000 for criticizing officials in wake of Zion Williamson injury

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