WNBA's Griner, Johnson Get Seven-Game Bans for Domestic Abuse

  • Couple was involved in a fight at their Arizona home April 22
  • WNBA's 34-game regular season is scheduled to begin June 5
Brittany Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock each received seven-game suspensions from the Women’s National Basketball Association because of an altercation between the two at their home in Arizona last month. 

Griner and Johnson, both 24, were arrested on identical misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct following an April 22 confrontation that left Johnson with a scratch above her lip and a concussion. The 6-foot-8 Griner, who led the Mercury to last season’s WNBA title, had a bite wound on her finger and scratches on her wrist. 

“The WNBA takes all acts of violence extremely seriously,” league president Laurel Richie said in a statement.“It is our strong belief that violence has absolutely no place in society, in sports or in this league.”

The WNBA’s regular seasonis scheduled to begin June 5 and each team plays 34 games, so the discipline accounts for more than 20 percent of the season.

Griner told police the fight was the result of weeks of stress from planning the couple’s wedding and buying a house. The WNBA said it conducted its own three-week investigation into the incident, interviewing both players and three witnesses and reviewing police reports, medical records and photos to determine the facts. 

“Our athletes represent the WNBA, and they all must abide by the league’s standards of conduct,” Richie said. “In this case, Brittney and Glory failed to do so, and that is unacceptable.”

The incident turned physical when the two exchanged shoves and the confrontation escalated to include wrestling, punches and the throwing and swinging of various objects, the WNBA said. Griner pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct on April 28 and entered a diversion program. Her assault charge was dismissed. The disorderly conduct charge will also be dismissed if she completes a 26-week domestic violence course. Johnson’s case was transferred to county court and is still pending.

“We also understand that people make mistakes, and that education and training are as important as imposing discipline,” Richie said. “Accordingly, each player will be required to attend individual counseling sessions with a counselor satisfactory to the WNBA. If either player fails to comply with this condition or any of the conditions imposed by the court, we reserve the right to revisit this matter.”

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