Brigitte Ardossi trips the Fire's Rachael Flanagan. Photo: Rohan Thomson
The Canberra Capitals insist a duty to uphold the club's culture, and to warn young players such behaviour won't be tolerated, gave them no choice but to suspend centre Brigitte Ardossi for the rest of the season.
The club took the extraordinary step of suspending Ardossi after she was issued an unsportsmanlike foul for tripping Townsville player Rachael Flanagan in Canberra's 76-68 win on Friday night.
After viewing footage of the incident on Monday, Basketball Australia's General Manager of Professional Leagues and Operations Chuck Harmison referred the matter to the WNBL tribunal.
It is extremely rare for a player to front the tribunal, and even more so for a club to take disciplinary action into their own hands.
The Capitals confirmed Ardossi's hearing will be heard via phone link-up. She has until 5pm on Tuesday to respond to the charge.
Basketball ACT CEO Tony Jackson said officials needed to set a strong and clear example to Ardossi's teammates, fans and sponsors that her actions were unacceptable.
''Even before we were aware they [WNBL] were citing it, Carrie [Graf, Capitals coach] and I reviewed it and we agreed it was appropriate for the club to take internal disciplinary action,'' Jackson said.
''We felt the severity of the incident was totally out of the realms of what the Capitals are about, and that the culture that's been created by Carrie and the previous generation of players is more important.
''We looked at it quite a few times and we've seen Brigitte's action to attempt to trip [Flanagan] … it just wasn't warranted.
''We've got a lot of young, impressionable players on the team each year and we want them to understand no matter what the situation is, at all times you're representing the sport and the organisation … there's a line of professionalism to uphold all the time.''
Townsville expressed its disappointment to Canberra's games commissioner shortly after Friday's match, and declared its intention to lodge an official complaint with the WNBL.
Harmison was unavailable for comment last night, but The Canberra Times understands Ardossi is the only player to be required to front the tribunal in about seven or eight seasons.
The 25-year-old was also reported by Bulleen for allegedly striking Boomers star Rachel Jarry in a pre-season match in September, a charge that was quickly thrown out.
Ardossi wrote a letter to Flanagan to apologise and express her remorse on Monday before club management discussed the incident with her.
By admitting Ardossi's guilt with their disciplinary action, the Capitals will be at the tribunal's mercy.
Jackson conceded a lengthy suspension may impact on whether Ardossi, out of contract at the end of this season, returned.
The Capitals are out of finals contention and have three games left in their campaign.
Injured Canberra Capitals star Lauren Jackson tweeted in defence of Ardossi, saying ''@BizArdossiCAPS has all the support and love from her teammates. She is a very important member of this team. I mean setting standards is fine, but hmmm.''