WNBA suspends Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner seven games

May 15, 2015, 10:04 AM | Updated: 11:40 am

On April 23, news broke that Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner was arrested on assault charges stemming from an incident with fiance Glory Johnson, who plays for the Tulsa Shock.

Friday, the WNBA announced it had suspended both for seven games due to their roles in the incident.

Explaining the decision, WNBA President Laurel J. Richie said the league investigated the incident, talking to both Griner and Johnson as well as witnesses. It also reviewed the police report, medical records, photos and other materials pertaining to the case.

Brittney and Glory were involved in a physical altercation with each other at their home. It began when Glory pushed Brittney in the shoulder and Brittney pushed Glory in the back of the neck. The confrontation escalated to include wrestling, punches, and the throwing and swinging of various objects. Brittney received a bite wound on her finger and scratches on her wrist, and Glory received a scratch above her lip and was diagnosed with a concussion.

Griner pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct on April 28 and entered into a diversion program. On May 9, she and Johnson got married.

But after receiving guidance and input from others, including domestic violence experts, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and others, Richie chose a punishment.

With consideration of all the facts and circumstances of this matter, we are suspending Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson each without pay for a period of seven regular-season games. Brittney and Glory’s conduct is detrimental to the best interests of the WNBA and violates applicable law. We also understand that people make mistakes, and that education and training are as important as imposing discipline. 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.

It’s a tough blow for the Mercury, who were already going to be defending their WNBA title without leading scorer Diana Taurasi, who is taking the season off.

Losing Griner for seven games, which amounts to nearly 21 percent of the season, will undoubtedly make things difficult. The 6-foot-8 center averaged 15.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game last season, her second in the league.

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