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What did Brittney Griner say about the American national anthem and why did it create a controversy? All you need to know

WNBA Finals - Game Two
Griner at the 2021 WNBA Finals - Game Two

In 2020, amid the "Black Lives Matter" protests in the United States, WNBA star Brittney Griner stated that the national anthem should not be played before games. She went on to say that if it was, she would not be on the floor while it was played.

Brittney Griner's recent encounter with the wrong side of the law has led to some backlash. Griner was found guilty of possessing drugs during a trip to Russia and was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.

Cherelle Griner is in the fight of her life to bring home her wife, Brittney Griner, who’s been sentenced to nine years in prison.She fears the worst: “I don’t know if she has anything left in her tank to continue to wake up every day and be in a place where she has no one.” https://t.co/WR4fm5RRUt

The world of social media used the opportunity to remind everyone about Griner’s stance on the national anthem. Several people have voiced their opinion, suggesting her support should be limited, given her stance against the national anthem.

An account with the handle @freedomspeech50 tweeted:

“Griner was sentenced to nine years and a $16K fine. It would be easier to be sympathetic if she hadn’t disrespected our National Anthem so flagrantly.”

When Brittney Griner made those claims in 2020, she clarified that she had nothing against the country. It was more of a stance against the systematic racism prevalent in the United States.

“I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season," Griner told the Republic. "I think we should take that much of a stand.
"I don't mean that in any disrespect to our country. My dad was in Vietnam and a law officer for 30 years. I wanted to be a cop before basketball. I do have pride for my country,” she added.

Regardless, the United States government has been working on getting her back home. This could involve a potential prisoner swap with Russia. There has been some back-and-forth since then, but a resolution has yet to be reached.


Brittney Griner was not alone in her protests against the national anthem

Brittney Griner’s protest against the national anthem did not sit well with many critics, who condemned her comments. However, a few people furthered her take, highlighting the origins of the anthem.

"I personally don't think it belongs in sports," Griner’s teammate Brianna Turner told The Republic. "When the National Anthem deemed the National Anthem (in 1931), Black people didn't have rights at that point. It's hard disrespecting a song that didn't even represent all Americans when it was first made.
"It's not played at Walmart, it's not played when you go to Six Flags,” she added. “Why is it played before sporting events?"
So sick of this false narrative that BG hated the US. Yes there’s an article where we state the anthem should not be played, but she goes on to also say how she has pride for her country. I think it’s patriotic to hold one’s country accountable for atrocious actions. https://t.co/NWqHVKmRZ1

Even when Brittney Griner’s sentencing to the Russian prison reinvigorated the hate towards her, Brianna Turner stepped up again, saying:

"So sick of this false narrative that BG hated the US," Turner tweeted. "Yes there’s an article where we state the anthem should not be played, but she goes on to also say how she has pride for her country. I think it’s patriotic to hold one’s country accountable for atrocious actions."

All that said, it is unlikely that the people involved in the process of bringing her back will take her protests into consideration. Latest reports suggest that October 25 is set as the date for the appeal of her nine-year prison term in Russian court.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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