We've been hearing that a suspension was imminent for over a week now and we finally have some clarity in how the Clippers and the NBA have handled Blake Griffin's January 23rd altercation with friend and assistant team equipment manager, Matias Testi.
He has been suspended for four games without pay and the suspension will begin once he is cleared to resume playing. In addition to the four games, Blake's wages from an additional game will be withheld to compensate for the self-incurred broken hand that has kept him out since the incident and will continue to sideline him for the next several weeks.
It's important to note that, while the suspension comes directly from the Clippers, the NBA was involved in the process of determining an appropriate consequence and that they have approved the team's punishment as being sufficient.
The Clippers organization issued the following statement:
"We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization. Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team. He understands his actions have consequences, and is eager to get back to work with his teammates, the organization and Clipper Nation which starts immediately with rehab, appearances and attendance at games.
For our team and organization, it is time to move forward which begins today and ultimately concludes when we have Blake back on the court."
The team will donate Blake's withheld salary, a total of $859,440, to charities that serve disadvantaged Los Angeles youth and Blake will be further involved with the charities at his own request.
Though Matt Barnes and Jahlil Okafor were both suspended only two games for off-the-court altercations earlier in the season, Blake's four game suspension seems very reasonable given the added severity of the involvement of a team staff member.
It's impossible to know exactly when he'll be cleared to play so that he can begin serving the suspension, but Ben Bolch of the LA Times targets a mid-March return date:
If Blake Griffin was cleared 6 weeks after surgery & started suspension, he would miss the next 4 games and return on March 15 vs. Spurs.— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) February 9, 2016
While it's a blow to a Clippers team coming off a near-loss to the lowly Sixers (who played hard, let's give them some credit) and limping into the All-Star Break, it's reassuring that all parties were able to agree on a punishment. You can bet that everyone involved is relieved to have this finally settled and ready to move on.