Brittney Griner should be suspended. There is no place for fighting in basketball. It was totally uncalled for her to hit someone in the face for physical play. All that being said, Brittney Griner’s actions haven’t put a “black eye” on women’s basketball. By now, most people have seen video footage or clips of Baylor freshman basketball player Brittney Griner’s punch in the face of Texas Tech player Jordan Barncastle during Baylor’s win Wednesday evening. She was has recently been suspended two games for her actions during that game.
The punishment of two games seems a bit light considering there are people comparing her punch in relation to former Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount’s infamous punch at Boise State at the beginning of the 2009 college football season. Blount was initially suspended for the remainder of the season but later played in his team’s final two games after missing 10 games in the middle of the season. While there are some similarities between the two incidents such as both happening in a road environment of the perpetrator delivering the punch and both perpetrators obviously losing control of their emotions, there is an important difference between the two: Blount’s punch happened after the game and Griner’s punch happened during the game which led to her ejection.
While Blount was obviously emotional before his punch, Griner’s emotion was brought by the physical play that she had received over the course of the game and the play leading up to the punch she landed. Standing at six feet, eight inches tall, Griner is a giant in the women’s basketball game much in a similar way Shaq is in the men’s game. Because of her stature, she naturally takes more physical abuse and play in the post from opponents who are trying to match up. Of course, both Shaq and Griner deal out their share of physical play as well but it is something that Griner is still dealing with at the young age of 19 years old.
Brittany Griner’s punch deserves her being punished by both her coach and her conference. She has apologized to the young woman she hit and should do so in person if she hasn’t yet. However, Brittney Griner has the opportunity to show that her skills on the court, including her dunking ability, are what should gain her national attention, not her punch. Many young people make costly mistakes but very few of those costly mistakes end up defining who that person is. One very bad judgment shouldn’t define Brittney Griner’s career.