WNBA Suspends Newly-Married Players In Wake Of Their Domestic Violence Arrest

Via the Associated Press:

WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson were suspended seven games each Friday for their domestic violence arrest last month — the league’s longest ban in its 19-year history. WNBA President Laurel Richie said the league “takes all acts of violence extremely seriously” in handing down a suspension that represents more than one-fifth of the 34-game regular season. Richie called the players’ actions “unacceptable.” “Brittney and Glory’s conduct is detrimental to the best interests of the WNBA and violates applicable law,” Richie said in a statement. “We also understand that people make mistakes, and that education and training are as important as imposing discipline.” The punishment comes at a time when sports leagues around the country are reviewing domestic violence policies following high-profile cases involving the NFL. Richie said she consulted with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and a variety of experts.

The couple was arrested in late April following a fight in the home they recently bought. They married in Arizona last week.

  • Gerry Fisher

    There’s an interesting discussion on the ESPN website (women’s basketball section) that compares penalties that male pros have received versus this penalty. (What the critics fail to mention is how often there have been no penalties levied at all in male professional sports.) I actually think that the WNBA league president did a very fair and thorough job, here.

    I like Britney Griner and her game a lot. I’m hoping that she gets on track and steers clear of violence from here on out.

  • Justin

    Domestic violence call before a wedding? Isn’t that in the wrong order? 🙂

    • LonelyLiberal

      Isn’t that when you should be rethinking the wedding?

      • And instead of “rethinking” I’d have typed that word as “cancelling.” But then, I’ve learned there are all sorts of abuse that go on in a relationship worthy of cancelling a wedding that do not involve physical violence.

        • yeah, let’s not judge too quickly. “domestic violence” calls can be almost anything, depending on where you live, how the police like to respond to them, your race and how the police treat people like you, neighbors- good or bad- nosing in…

          and then there’s what it really means to ‘call off the wedding.’ sometimes, that can be a bigger hassle than the wedding itself. couples on the verge of marriage are often stressed out, even if slapping each other around to blow it off is always a bad idea.

      • Gerry Fisher

        I don’t get why they didn’t extend the engagement for a year. If she’s “the one,” then she’ll be there a year from now.

  • Octavio

    Girls will be girls. What’s the problem? The WNBA has no business getting all up their butt over lovers having a spat.

    • Corey

      Domestic violence is not “girls will be girls” and “boys will be boys”. This really cheapens a serious issue.The two of need counseling right now in the same manner that Ray Rice doesn’t deserve to be playing in the NFL right now.

      • lymis

        I suspect that the comment was ironically quoting the bullshit excuses that are used any time a male sports figure beats on his wife or girlfriend and gets a slap on the wrist, if that, not a serious attempt to excuse domestic violence.

        The sad thing is how often exactly that language is used when a male athlete hits the news.

        • Gerry Fisher

          Took me a minute to get it. 🙂

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    The day LGBTs are treated equally, and opposite-sex domestic violence is met with the same penalties as same-sex domestic violence, this will be the correct response. Unless I’m grossly mistaken, we’re not there yet.

    • lymis

      I agree with you industry-wide. Unless the WNBA is somehow being hypocritical (if any straight women were not given such a penalty in a domestic violence situation, for example), then their taking a hard stand on a serious issue isn’t necessarily inappropriate just because someone else doesn’t.

      Men should be held to the same high standard, not women getting a pass because men do. In industries that are single-sex specific, the WNBA can’t police the men’s teams.

      • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

        Good point. This case, however, could be used as an example to other sports leagues with regard to such events in male leagues.

    • bestfriend

      Ray Rice

      • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

        I see a federal court reversed his suspension from the league. He’s a free agent but, as far as I know, he hasn’t been hired by a team.

    • BobSF_94117

      But this is a very different response, no? I can’t think of another case (mind you, I pay very little attention to sports) where both parties had to go to counseling after having a fight where both, apparently, gave as good as they got. Domestic violence is almost always asymetrical, with a clear victim. Without reading anything other than the linked article, I’m not sure that dynamic applies here.

      It’s pretty weird to punish both of them equally, unless they were equally responsible and, dare I say, consenting, in which case it’s really weird to punish them more than anyone else ever.

    • Gerry Fisher

      It’s complicated. When you compare it to recent penalties for professional male players, this punishment varies from “a bit light” to “very light.” When you compare it to the fact that, until very recently, men were not punished at all, then this punishment looks very heavy.

      They forfeited 20%+ of their season; WNBA seasons are short (just the summer months). That’s a significant portion of their season, IMO. I would also advocate for a much harsher punishment for a second offense.

  • sfdj
    • Nychta

      The local (Phoenix) news reported last night on their suspension. The reporter referred to them as “partners.” Was he not aware they’re married? Was it force of habit? Hmmm.

      • Gerry Fisher

        That’s odd…

  • bkmn

    And how soon can we expect the NBA and NFL to be as aggressive towards domestic violence?

    • In the long run, this isn’t a bad thing. I too find it fucked up that NFL and NBA seem to let “boys be boys” and beat their women, but I think this is how it SHOULD be and I’d rather one league be doing it than none at all. DV is no joke. People DO make mistakes and i truly hope that incident was a one time thing and they learned from it and it doesn’t happen again, but I do think taking it seriously is a good thing.

  • nycmcmike

    It’s good to know every major sports league in America suspends their athletes for domestic violence

  • e jerry powell

    Laurel couldn’t not do anything. I’m less disappointed in the league’s response than in Griner and Johnson themselves, but at least the players have to undergo counseling and such. Still, another black mark against men’s leagues for the gender inequity.

  • james_from_cambridge

    The throwaway line at the end: “They married in Arizona last week.”

    We can fucking get married in fucking Arizona! I honestly just forget sometimes and read something like this and my mind is blown!

    • Gerry Fisher

      Subtext: Is it really wise to get married a few weeks after you’ve been arrested for domestic violence?

      • james_from_cambridge

        A lot of celebs seem to get married quickly right after a domestic violence arrest, like Ravens Running Back Ray Rice, the guy who knocked out his girlfriend in the elevator; he married that poor girl right during that whole shitstorm very quickly, no doubt to keep her from testifying against him. I believe a DA can force someone to testify against a boyfriend/girlfriend against their will but if they’re married, that testimony can’t be compelled.

  • TreGibbs

    Huh? Who?

  • Isaac

    Good. Keep your hands to your fucking self.

  • JCF

    Had to be done. You can’t have a different domestic violence standard for same-sex couples.

  • WideGapingHole

    I will never understand what makes an adult think “Maybe she’ll understand my viewpoint if I punch her in the face.” People are animals.