NEW YORK – Mercury center Brittney Griner will miss the next three games after the WNBA suspended her Tuesday for her role in a fight in the Dallas-Phoenix game over the weekend that resulted in six players getting ejected.
The league punished Griner for throwing punches, escalating the incident and pushing Wings forward Kayla Thornton's face with an open hand. Dallas forward Kristine Anigwe was suspended two games for instigating the initial altercation with Griner and taking an open-handed swing at her. Thornton also was suspended two games for her role in the scuffle.
Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi and Dallas forward Kaela Davis were suspended a game apiece for leaving the bench area during Saturday's altercation and directly engaging with the opposing team.
Griner will begin serving her suspension today when Phoenix plays host to the Connecticut Sun. Anigwe and Thornton will begin serving their suspensions that same night when Dallas plays host to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Taurasi, who is injured, will serve her suspension during the first game after she is medically cleared to play. Davis will miss Sunday's game, when Dallas visits Connecticut, due to the league's requirement that a team have a minimum of eight players dressed for all games. Because of injuries, the Wings are down to 10 healthy players.
Arbitrator on side of former coach
The arbitrator in the dispute between UConn and Kevin Ollie says the former basketball coach is protected by a union contract when it comes to the standard the school must meet in proving his ouster was justified. The union agreement requires a showing of serious misconduct. UConn had argued that Ollie's personal contract superseded union protections, allowing it to fire him for a broader range of offenses.
Patriots trade ex-Purdue QB
New England released former Purdue quarterback Danny Etling after completing a trade with Atlanta to acquire tight end Eric Saubert. Etling, a seventh-round pick out of LSU in 2018, spent last season on the practice squad. After the Patriots drafted Jarrett Stidham in April, Etling tried to convert to wide receiver. But competition at the position pushed him far down the depth chart. Saubert, who is entering his third season, had five catches for 48 yards for the Falcons in 2018.
Ex-Irish star loses enhancer appeal
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate has had the appeal of his four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL's policy on performance enhancers turned down. The decision by an independent arbiter means the 10-year-veteran out of Notre Dame will miss the first four games of the regular season, starting with Dallas on Sept. 8.
Around the NFL
Antonio Brown has returned to Oakland's training camp facility after missing time to see a specialist for his frostbitten feet and losing a grievance with the NFL over the use of a helmet. ... The Bears have waived wide receiver Emanuel Hall. ... The Jets have signed veteran cornerback Marcus Cooper.
Sooners' star dies
Former Oklahoma running back Mike Gaddis, who former coach Barry Switzer called the best running back from the state of Oklahoma he ever signed, has died at 50. A cause of death was not released. As a sophomore in 1989 he rushed for 829 yards in six games before suffering a knee injury. He returned in 1991 to rush for more than 1,300 yards and was a sixth-round pick by Minnesota, but never played.
In Mason, Ohio, Venus Williams reached the third round of the Western & Southern Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4) upset of defending champion Kiki Bertens. The seven-time Grand Slam champion is the oldest woman in the draw at 39. In another upset, 13th-seeded Angelique Kerber was knocked out by unseeded Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (7), 6-2. Hours before her match was scheduled to begin, Serena Williams withdrew, citing the same back injury that forced her to retire from the Rogers Cup final on Sunday in Toronto. On the men's side, Stan Wawrinka advanced to the second round with a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Grigor Dimitrov, and third-seeded Roger Federer beat Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-4. Fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem withdrew because of illness.