Griner said she feels both underpaid and under-protected in the WNBA.
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner said she feels underappreciated in the WNBA and explained why both being underpaid and the lack of calls from referees has her contemplating a life where she leaves the league in a new interview with ESPN's Holly Rowe.
Griner was one of three players suspended earlier this month for their involvement in an altercation during the Wings’ 80–77 win over the Mercury. Griner received a three-game suspension after she threw punches, escalated the incident and pushed Dallas forward Kayla Thorton's face. Griner told Rowe that she was "wrong for my total reaction."
She went on to discuss her feelings about the suspension and the WNBA more broadly.
"We're already underpaid, so I feel undervalued anyway," Griner said. "Not getting calls in a game, not being protected, but you always want to say my name first in headlines is really hard."
Griner added that "all the bigs" within the WNBA share her same desires to be paid more and protected.
After her suspension was announced, Griner said the only reason she is playing in the WNBA is the love she has for her team. The 28-year-old center, who leads the league in scoring, added that she is tired of being disciplined by the league when she is trying to protect herself.
"I'm not doing it for the money because we don't make enough and they want to fine me for every little thing," Griner said to the Arizona Republic. "I'm getting techs for protecting myself in games and flagrants because they always only see me. They never see anything beforehand. I'm basically not getting paid this summer already (due to fines)."
Griner is one of the league's highest-paid players but she also supplements her income by playing for Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg after the WNBA season. The six-time WNBA All-Star is in the final season of her contract with the Mercury.