WNBA players separating a month after marriage
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A week after Brittney Griner filed for an annulment of their marriage, fellow WNBA All-Star Glory Johnson said Friday that she is staying in Tulsa to be with teammates as she goes through with her pregnancy.
Griner, the 6-foot-8 Phoenix Mercury star, made her filing last week, a day after Johnson announced she was pregnant and a month after they were married. Johnson said in an emailed statement that she is still shaken.
“I am truly really saddened by the recent turn of events and was not expecting to have our marriage end so abruptly,” she wrote. “I am ready to begin focusing on my health, pregnancy and am going to remain in Tulsa to continue to build my relationship with the Tulsa Shock organization, and my teammates. I appreciate the support of my fans, family and loved ones and look forward to returning to the basketball court as soon as I can.”
The pair was married on May 9, three weeks after they were arrested on domestic violence charges for a fight at their home in suburban Phoenix. Both players were suspended seven games after their arrests, and Griner agreed to undergo 26 weeks of domestic violence counselling as part of a plea agreement.
Johnson said she felt compelled to respond to rumours surrounding the pair’s relationship.
“I would like to address the inaccurate statements released surrounding my marriage and pregnancy, so that I can continue, after this statement, to focus on my privacy and allow our lawyers to handle this situation,” she said.
Johnson said she was impregnated via in vitro fertilization with her egg and a donor’s sperm. In court documents, Griner said she has no biological connection with the baby, and she is uncertain how long Johnson has been pregnant.
“At no stage was Brittney pressured to undertake the fertility process,” Johnson’s statement said. “In fact, throughout the entire process, Brittney was a willing participant, consenting and signing all the necessary documents that needed to be signed in order to move forward with the treatments.”
Griner stated last week that she married Johnson under duress. Johnson said the decision to move forward with the wedding was mutual.
“In addition, while we may have both had our reservations, we both wilfully and joyfully walked down the aisle together and decided to get married,” Johnson said.
Last week, Johnson’s agent, Boris Lelchitski said the Women’s National Basketball Players Association was planning to file a grievance to appeal the suspensions for both players, but Griner backed out. Lelchitski said the deadline has now passed, and his client did not appeal.
Johnson’s suspension will not start until the 2016 season because she will not play this season.