I’m forgiving Blake Griffin.
Now, if he had shattered his fourth metacarpal, I don’t know, dunking over cars or making textbook peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it would be a little easier to forgive the 6’10 power forward.
But he broke it in a fight.
After Griffin had been sidelined with a quadriceps injury on Christmas day, he traveled with the Clippers on a five-game road trip. Clippers fans were hopeful the power forward would be playing on that trip, but on January 24 it was reported he was heading back to Los Angeles to continue rehabbing his quad. Or so we thought.
It was later released to the media that Griffin was sent back to LA because he had punched a Clippers equipment manager in the face at a restaurant in Toronto. After the initial hit, Griffin reportedly followed the guy (who he happens to be good friends with) outside and hit him again.
I tried to forget about it. After all, this was Blake Griffin, the guy who stars in the funny Kia commercials that you can’t help but laugh at, the face of the Jordan brand and the reason I am a Clippers fan.
Later that afternoon, I found an article by Bill Plaschke in the LA Times explaining why Griffin must be punished.
Before Steve Ballmer bought the team for $2 billion in 2014, the Clippers were owned by a man named Donald Sterling. Sterling was forced to step down and sell the team after racist comments he made about his players were caught on tape and released. In his Times article, Plaschke reminded everyone that the Clippers had been owned by a bully, so why should Blake Griffin get away with being a bully?
Besides the fact that he committed assault, and you know, broke his friend’s face, Blake was being a bully. I slowly, slowly started to agree that punishing him for his actions would send a clear message that the Clippers were done being bullied.
This was two weeks ago. The league is still investigating the incident and any consequences will come from inside the Clippers organization. People across the nation are eagerly waiting to see if someone will deliver a punch of punishment back to Griffin. While we wait, though, I’m sure about one thing. I’ve forgiven him.
I’ve forgiven him because it was a mistake. I’ve forgiven him because he is 26 years old. I’ve forgiven him because the Clippers need him, and most of all, I’ve forgiven him because he is a human being.
Blake Griffin happens to be a human who is under a microscope because of his star power. Every single one of his actions are analyzed and criticized, by the media, by fans, by people across the nation. Out of all of the crimes committed in this last calendar year, Griffin was responsible for one.
Just because his life is closely examined, does he not deserve forgiveness? As a 20 something, I’ve sought forgiveness because we all make mistakes, especially when we are discovering who we are. God has shown us forgiveness because He knows we are not perfect and without His grace, we would be nowhere. Blake Griffin deserves this same grace from his fans, from the media, from his teammates.
I do not think professional athletes should be handed a free pass when they commit assault. But I do think they should receive forgiveness.
The organization has made it clear that when his broken hand has healed, Blake will be welcomed back. He’s shown remorse for his actions, and missing 20 games and counting two months before playoffs in a loaded Western conference is punishment enough.