Bucks star Antetokounmpo suspended after head-butting opponent

 Moritz Wagner #21 of the Washington Wizards reacts after a headbutt by Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Ashley Landis РPool/Getty Images/AFP

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo was suspended for one game after head-butting Washington Wizards center Moritz Wagner during a game, the league said Wednesday.

The Milwaukee Bucks star was ejected from the contest after the incident in the second quarter of the Bucks 126-113 victory Tuesday over the Wizards.

Antetokounmpo was contrite after the game, admitting he let his emotions get the better of him after he was fouled multiple times in the quarter.

“Terrible action,” Antetokounmpo said. “If I could go back and turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn’t do it. But at the end of the day, we’re all human, we all make mistakes.

“I think I’ve done a great job all year, in my career, of keeping my composure and focusing on the game, but like I said, we’re human, we make mistakes. But at the end of the day, learn from it, keep playing good basketball and keep moving forward.”

Antetokounmpo admitted he took his frustrations out on Wagner, even though the Wizards big man was just a handy target.

“I think it was just the whole, like, build-up of dirty plays in my mind. Guys tripping me, guys falling in front of my feet, holding me, hitting me,” he said. “I don’t have nothing against Wagner, it wasn’t just him.”

The Bucks have already clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But Antetokounmpo’s absence could be a boon for their next opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies, who are trying to fight their way into the Western Conference playoff field as the NBA wraps up a regular season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

© Agence France-Presse