The Boston Globe wrote an article recently entitled, “During Pride, Juneteenth, and the NBA Finals, it’s past time we get loud about freeing Brittney Griner,” and I could not agree more. It has now been four months since Griner, who was in Russia to play for UMMC Yekaterinburg, was detained on drug charges relating to a vape pen in Feb.
This weekend, while African-American’s celebrate gaining our freedom here in the U.S, one of our own is locked up abroad. Griner will not be able to hug her father this weekend or spend time with her wife, Cherelle Griner and children.
The New York Times Reports:
“In February, Russian customs officials accused Griner of carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. If Griner is convicted, she can face up to 10 years in prison. American officials have long accused Russia of detaining people on trumped-up charges,” (NYT).
Like Griner, various WNBA players have been enticed to play overseas for UMMC Yekaterinburg in countries like Russia, due to larger salaries, often double or triple the amount offered in the WNBA
Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, was one of the highest paid players at the time of her arrest.
Last month, the State Department stated Griner is being wrongfully detained in Russia. Earlier this week, officials meet with members of Brittney Griner’s WNBA team to discuss ways the Biden administration could intervene in her release. The meeting also involved officials from a specialized unit within the State Department who advocate for hostages, as well as Americans who are wrongfully detained in other countries.
“U.S. Reps. Greg Stanton (Arizona), Colin Allred (Texas) and Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) introduced a resolution last week calling for Griner’s immediate release. Griner is a native of Houston, and she got to know Stanton, the former mayor of Phoenix, well since coming to play for the Mercury. Former United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson, who served as the governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011 and helped negotiate the release of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed from Russia last month, is also working to secure Griner’s release,” (ESPN).
Video: ABC News