Glory Johnson suspended ahead of Wednesday’s game against Connecticut

ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 16: Glory Johnson
ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 16: Glory Johnson /

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Dallas forward Glory Johnson has been issued a one game suspension without pay for throwing a punch at guard Matee Ajavon.  The violation is a result of an exchange that happened with 1:12 remaining in the fourth quarter of the  90-86 win over the Dream on Saturday.  As seen in the video, the play was immediately reviewed by the officials. 

The call on the floor after the incident resulted in a flagrant one foul on Ajavon and a double technical foul to both players.

WNBA Rule book

Both players were given technical fouls and Ajavon was given a flagrant one foul. Only Johnson was suspended. The WNBA rule book (dated 2016) defines a flagrant one foul as, “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.”

The suspension to Johnson has to do with her reaction to Ajavon’s contact. The WNBA released a statement which read:

"NEW YORK, Aug. 21, 2017 – Dallas Wings’ forward Glory Johnson has been suspended one game without pay for throwing a punch at Atlanta Dream guard Matee Ajavon, it was announced today by Ann Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, WNBA League Operations."

Fighting under any circumstances warrants suspension. It is worth noting that any punching foul is subject to immediate ejection. Johnson was suspended for throwing a punch, but she was not after review, ejected from the game.

Appeals process

The current WNBA CBA allows a player to appeal a fine or suspension up to 20 days after notice of discipline.  However, the player is still subject to the fines, suspensions and/or garnishment of wages originally handed down by the league. If the original disciplinary action(s) is overturned, the player is entitled to her all amounts paid or withheld.

A suspension cannot be withdrawn retroactively. Additionally, the submission of appeal does not stay, or postpone, a suspension. A player must serve a suspension whether they appeal or not. For context, the MLB and NFL leagues allow players to compete while their case is in the appeals process.  Chase Utley and Tom Brady are two recent examples of appeals in both leagues, respectively. While Utley’s suspension was overturned, Brady eventually served his suspension after a failed second appeal.  Both were able to participate fully while their suspensions were under appeal. WNBA players are not given these options.

Assuming Johnson does not appeal, she will miss an important game against Connecticut tomorrow. Johnson responded yesterday via social media to express her discontent with the suspension.

Repercussions for Dallas

With the Wings holding on the eighth and final playoff spot, it’s hardly the time to lose Johnson. She is averaging 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.  She posted 20 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals August 12 against Connecticut. The game featured eight ties and five lead changes before the Sun out the game away 96-88.

Right now, Dallas trails Seattle in the WNBA standings. Both teams are 14-16 on the season. The Storm have defeated the Wings twice for the head-to-head advantage. Dallas has a 2.5 game lead on the Chicago Sky who are currently on a two-game skid. The Sky host the Wings August 30 for the third and final head-to-head of the season. The winner holds takes the season series 2-1.

With only four playoff spots left, every win is crucial. Winning without Johnson would be a coup for Dallas. Especially with Washington and New York among the remaining three opponents after tomorrow.

The Dallas Wings take on the Connecticut Sun tomorrow at 6:00pm ET on Twitter and WNBA League Pass.