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 about 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. "We also understand that people make mistakes, and that education and training are as important as imposing discipline."
Griner plays for the defending champion Phoenix Mercury and Johnson for the Tulsa Shock. The penalties come with both teams preparing to open camp Sunday. The league season to begins June 5.
The WNBA said the two All-Stars — who got married last week in Phoenix — must undergo individual counseling. If either fails to comply with that condition or those set by the court, the league reserves the right to revisit the case.
The Mercury is already without star guard Diana Taurasi, who elected to sit out the season. Now, barring a successful appeal, the Mercury will be without Griner for seven games, a stretch that includes a game with the Lynx in Phoenix on June 14. Griner will be back for a game at Minnesota on June 25.
The Shock opens the season at Minnesota on June 5. Tulsa's seventh game is also against the Lynx at Target Center on June 21.
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS