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WNBA suspends Mercury’s Brittney Griner and Wings’ Kristine Anigwe, Kayla Thornton

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The players were involved in a fourth-quarter brawl during the Phoenix Mercury-Dallas Wings game on Saturday, Aug. 10. Other players receiving punishment from the league are DeWanna Bonner (Mercury), Kaela Davis (Wings) and Diana Taurasi (Mercury).

WNBA: JULY 12 Phoenix Mercury at Connecticut Sun
Seeds of discontent have been brewing between Brittney Griner (right) and Kristine Anigwe (left) since their July 12 matchup when Anigwe was still with the Connecticut Sun.
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Sunday, Aug. 11, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert told The Associated Press during halftime of a New York Liberty game the league had “activated our usual protocol around events like this” and was “looking at all the video and talking to all the folks” in the aftermath of the fourth-quarter brawl between Phoenix Mercury and Dallas Wings players.

With that process apparently complete, Bethany Donaphin, head of WNBA league operations, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, announced the following suspensions and fines:

Suspended

Brittney Griner (Mercury): 3-game suspension for “throwing punches, escalating the incident, and pushing Thornton’s face with an open hand.”

Kristine Anigwe (Wings): 2-game suspension for “instigating the initial altercation and for taking an open-handed swing at Griner.”

Kayla Thornton (Wings): 2-game suspension for “her role in escalating the altercation.”

The suspensions begin on Wednesday, Aug. 14, when the Mercury and Wings return to the court against the Connecticut Sun and Los Angeles Sparks, respectively.

Suspended, with fine

Diana Taurasi (Mercury): 1-game suspension plus $500 fine for “leaving the bench area during the altercation and directly engaging with the opposing team.”

Kaela Davis (Wings): 1-game suspension plus $500 fine for “leaving the bench area during the altercation and directly engaging with the opposing team.”

Taurasi has not suited up for the Mercury since testing her surgically repaired back in a game before the All-Star break. She will serve her one-game suspension during the first game for which is “medically cleared to play.” Davis, however, will not serve her suspension until Sunday, Aug. 18, to avoid the Wings dropping below the league minimum eight-player roster.

Fined

DeWanna Bonner (Mercury): $500 fine for “escalating the incident.”

In her first public comments since the incident, Griner expressed how the WNBA handles the fines would help determine her future in the league. She is in the final year of her contract with the Mercury, and has said her loyalty to her teammates is the only reason she continues to play in the WNBA. The low salary in the WNBA has long been a source of frustration for her and other players and, this season, Griner said she believes biased officiating in the form of repeated non-calls led to the brawl.

Poll

Do you think the suspensions and fines are fair?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Yes, but the punishment should have been more severe.
    (19 votes)
  • 42%
    Sure, the punishment seems about right.
    (35 votes)
  • 34%
    No, the punishment is too harsh.
    (28 votes)
82 votes total Vote Now