Brittney Griner has now spent more than five months detained in Russia after being arrested for possessing marijuana vaping cartridges. While playing overseas during the WNBA offseason, Griner allegedly brought marijuana cartridges with her in her luggage. Upon airport security learning of her possession, she was placed under arrest.
It took weeks for people to learn that Griner had been arrested. As a result, she was labeled as wrongfully detained by the US government. As the country's leaders worked to free her, it became more and more apparent that Russia's leaders didn't intend on negotiating in good faith. According to reports, the United States was offered a trade for a convicted arms dealer labeled 'The Merchant of Death'.
Given that, American citizens quickly became outraged by her wrongful detention, and citizens quickly organized in hopes of putting pressure on the Russian government. Unfortunately, just recently, she was sentenced to nine years in prison, with most of that time being spent at a Russian labor camp. The way Michael Jordan's daughter sees things, Brittney Griner is a political prisoner.
“In this age of social media and the internet, so many people are just dismissive and disrespectful about the situation. It’s not about the charges. It’s a bigger picture taking place. A lot of people are ignoring that, and they’re focusing on these micro details, the charges, but it’s a political play."
"Sorry, not sorry. She is wrongfully being used as a pawn in a bigger scheme that’s being played, and it’s unfortunate to see.”
The comments came during a recent interview with Footwear News.
NBA and WNBA rally around Brittney Griner
When Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years for possession of marijuana, many quickly began to point out the differences in her case compared to others. In several other situations where Americans were arrested in Russia for possession of marijuana, no harsh sentences were brought against them, and none nearly as harsh as Griner's.
The NBA and WNBA put together campaigns with the hope of bringing her home. On many courts throughout the league, Griner's initials and #42 were plastered on the court as a constant reminder of her situation.
Although it seems as though Griner could very well spend the next nine years imprisoned in Russia, there is hope for her release. According to a report last month from the New York Times, U.S. officials have reportedly met with her and confirmed that she's doing as well as can be expected. At the same time, the U.S. officials confirmed that, previously, they have attempted to negotiate Griner's release.
So far no word yet on whether or not talks of a prisoner swap have progressed, or if the two nations are actively involved in discussions. In the meantime, we would like to take this time to look at some of the highlights from Brittney Griner's career. Below you can see some of her best plays from throughout the course of the eight-time All-Star's career.