Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner has had enough with the alleged unfair treatment from the WNBA, and apparently, the only reason she continues to play in the league is her love for the game.
“I’m not doing it for the money because we don’t make enough and they want to fine me for every little thing,” Griner, who is in the final year of her contract, told The Arizona Republic following an on-court brawl between herself and players of the Dallas Wings.
Griner lost her temper in the fourth quarter of the game after Anigwe yanked her arm and struck her in the head. Griner tried to punch Anigwe then chased her down the court. Both were ejected along with Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi and Briann January and Dallas’ Kayla Thornton and Kaela Davis.
“How they handle this will determine a lot about the future,” Griner said, per Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic. “Because how can I fight for some league that doesn’t even want to protect their players?”
She said, “I’m getting techs for protecting myself in games and flagrants because they always only see me. They never see anything beforehand. I’m basically not getting paid this summer already (due to fines).”
Metcalfe noted Griner makes approximately the league maximum of $115,000 this season in the league, which is notably less than the seven figures she makes on her Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the offseason.
“Everybody is human,” Griner said in regards to the fight. “It’s so easy to sit in your office and say there’s no place for that. I’m sorry I wasn’t raised like that. My dad is military and law enforcement. You don’t turn the cheek. I was always taught you turn your head at somebody coming after you, you’re going to get hit in the back of the head or worse.”
The WNBA reviewed the incident and suspended all five players involved in the fight. Griner is suspended for three games, the longest suspension amongst the five. She was suspended for “throwing punches, escalating the incident, and pushing Thornton’s face with an open hand.”
Anigwe and Kayla Thornton are suspended for two games each: Anigwe for “instigating the initial altercation and for taking an openhanded swing at Griner,” according to the league, and Thornton for “escalating the altercation.”
Diana Taurasi of the Mercury and Kaela Davis of the Wings are suspended one game each for leaving the bench area, although Taurasi was not playing in the game due to an injury.