Griner opts out of US women's basketball training camp
May. 04, 2015
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Brittney Griner opted out of the U.S. women's national basketball team training camp that began Monday.
The 6-foot-8 star of the Phoenix Mercury was arrested April 22 on suspicion of assault after a fight with her fiancee, fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson. Griner, who was expected to be one of the 27 players at the camp, let USA Basketball know of her choice over the weekend.
"Given all the circumstances of the last couple of weeks, she's got a lot going on. She decided not to attend," U.S. national team director Carol Callan told The Associated Press on Monday. "We're fully supportive of her."
Griner entered into a diversion agreement, where she will plead guilty to disorderly conduct and attend 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling. All charges will be dismissed if she completes her counseling.
"It's important that she gets herself squared away. I'm sure she's got some issues that she wants to fix. Unfortunately they've all been made public," U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said. "I would say it's not easy being Brittney Griner. These kinds of things happen all throughout the country every single day. When it happens to someone who's high profile, and especially in women's sports, it becomes even more of a story. I'm glad she's taking the time to sort it all out. When she's ready to come back we'll do whatever we can to support her."
The WNBA is still investigating the incident between Griner and Johnson. Griner talked to the league last week, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it is a personnel matter and the investigation is still pending.
The league has the option to fine, suspend or even terminate the contracts of Griner and Johnson.
The USA Basketball training camp wasn't mandatory, and Griner wasn't the only member of the player pool not in attendance. It won't affect her chances of being on the 2016 Olympic team.
"There are several players in the pool that aren't here and we certainly understand the different commitments and different things going on in their lives," Callan said. "Because someone isn't here doesn't mean they are no longer in the pool. They still are in consideration for Rio."
Three-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi were in Las Vegas. Taurasi is recovering after breaking a bone in her left hand while playing overseas for her Russian club team. She is sitting out the upcoming WNBA season after accepting an offer from her Russian club to rest.
Other returning Olympic medalists include Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Candace Parker, Cappie Pondexter, Tina Charles, Angel McCoughtry and Maya Moore.
The roster also includes two college players, UConn's Breanna Stewart and South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell.
The U.S. has already qualified for next year's Olympics in Rio, where the Americans will try to win a sixth straight gold medal.
Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg