If you believe in gender equity, here is your chance to stand up in a different way.
Tell the WNBA that Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson deserve significant suspensions for their roles in a domestic violence incident that led to their arrests.
Anything less is simply hypocrisy.
Griner and Johnson, both 24, engaged in an argument that led to minor injuries in their Goodyear, Arizona, home.
Both women were seen “throwing things at each other, and several people inside the home tried to break up the fight” before authorities were called, the police report noted.
Griner plays for Phoenix, and Johnson plays for Tulsa. The players are engaged to be married next Friday.
While neither pressed charges, they were arrested and later released. Injuries were minor, consisting of bite marks and damaged property.
Still, domestic violence is simply unacceptable, especially by pro athletes who should be role models.
This situation will draw particular focus. Griner is not just another athlete, she is a poster child for the next generation of female pro athletes. She even got a tryout with the Dallas Mavericks.
So, the question is: What will the WNBA do about it?
Whatever it does, the comparison will be drawn to the treatment received by Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Floyd Mayweather, male athletes who received harsh treatment after similar incidents.
Rice was suspended for the season and released by the Ravens after he apparently punched his fiancée and dragged her out of an elevator.
Will the Griner/Johnson consequences be similar here as the WNBA deals with this high-profile issue for the first time?
Or will the treatment resemble that of soccer star Hope Solo? The goalie for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team was arrested in a similar domestic violence incident. Police said Solo, 33, assaulted two relatives in June at a home in the Seattle area. Officers responded to a 911 call, in which a man reported that a woman would not stop “hitting people” or leave the house, a police statement said.
Solo was not disciplined (chargers against her were dismissed); instead she was named team captain soon after.
Is that fair? Is that consistent? Or should women be judged by a different standard than their male counterparts?
I don’t pretend to know the answer, but the question is compelling.
If calls for gender equity have validity, how should we judge women athletes at both their best and their worst?
Griner presents that paradox.
She already pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for the April 22 incident. She will attend 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling; and upon completion, all charges will be dismissed. Griner voluntarily began counseling the day after her arrest and is cooperating with the WNBA’s investigation into the matter.
That is commendable and certainly a more mature response than that displayed by Rice and most others who stand similarly accused.
It does not, though, address the professional consequences. That awaits the WNBA, whose season starts in five weeks.
If you believe in gender equity and condemn domestic violence no matter the sex of the perpetrator, here is your chance to stand up.