WBNA stars Griner, Johnson suspended after domestic dispute

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson, arrested last month in Arizona following a domestic dispute, were each suspended seven games for conduct detrimental to the league.

Griner plays for the Phoenix Mercury and Johnson plays for the Tulsa Shock. The two were engaged last August and were married in Phoenix earlier this month.

The seven-game penalty represents nearly 1/5th of the 34-game WNBA regular season which begins June 5.

WNBA president Laurel J. Richie issued the suspensions Friday. In addition to the seven-game banishment, without pay, both players will be required to attend individual counseling sessions.

"Brittney and Glory's conduct is detrimental to the best interests of the WNBA and violates applicable law," said Richie on Friday. "We also understand that people make mistakes, and that education and training are as important as imposing discipline."

Richie said the WNBA will revisit the matter if either player fails to comply with the conditions of the league's penalty or the conditions imposed by the court.

Griner and Johnson were involved in a physical altercation with each other at their Arizona home on April 22.

According to the league's release, the problems began when Johnson pushed Griner in the shoulder and Griner responded with a shove to the back of Johnson's neck. It then escalated with punches and throwing of various objects.

Both were physically injured during the incident and were taken into custody by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. The two were charged with identical counts of misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.

The WNBA said it conducted a three-week investigation, interviewing the players and witnesses who were present for much of the altercation. A review of the police report and medical records were also taken into account.

Richie spoke with domestic violence experts and consulted with NBA officials, including commissioner Adam Silver before making a decision on discipline.

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

"As president, it is my responsibility to protect the league and uphold its values. Our athletes represent the WNBA, and they all must abide by the league's standards of conduct. In this case, Brittney and Glory failed to do so, and that is unacceptable."

Griner pleaded guilty in Goodyear City Court to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and entered a diversion program. The assault charge was dismissed. When she completes a 26-week domestic violence course, the disorderly conduct charge will be dismissed.

Johnson's case was transferred to county court and is still pending.

Griner led the Phoenix Mercury to the WNBA title last September and was named the league's top defensive player in 2014.