WNBA player Brittney Griner jumped to the forefront of public attention in 2020, after she voiced her opposition to the playing of the national anthem before WNBA games. She also began kneeling while it was played, in a similar protest to the one begun by Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
She is currently under arrest in Russia on drug charges that could see her imprisoned for up to 10 years or even sent to a labor camp. She was stopped at Sheremetyevo International Airport and found to be in possession of cannabis oil for vaping purposes, which is illegal in Russia.
The Phoenix Mercury star has been detained in prison ever since. The US government has accused the Russians of using her as leverage in response to Western sanctions after the country invaded Ukraine in February this year.
Her detention has become worldwide news. However, not everyone appears to be upset by her exile. Some who were angered by her protests have taken the opportunity to mock the basketball star and her friend Colin Kaepernick.
Larry Elder, the conservative radio host personality and host of The Larry Elder Show, tweeted this question to his followers:
"Q: When Brittney Griner finally returns to America, will she start standing for the National Anthem? Asking for my friend, Colin Kaepernick."
It is unlikely that Kaepernick has Elder on speed dial, or even considers him a friend. Still, his tweet is representative of the hostility that Griner has faced from some quarters, similar to what Kaepernick has experienced.
Brittney Griner and her controversial career
At 6 foot 9 inches, Brittney Griner is one of the tallest players in WNBA history. She has used that to great effect, becoming a two-time Olympic gold medalist and an eight-time WNBA all-star during a glittering career. She has represented Phoenix Mercury and Russian Premier League team, UMMC Ekaterinburg.
However, her career has not been without incident, on and off the court. In 2015, the WNBA suspended Griner and her ex-wife, Glory Johnson, for seven games after they got into a domestic dispute.
They were both later arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. She also faced suspension for her on-court actions when in 2020 she was involved in a brawl.
Then, during the George Floyd protests, she, along with her teammates, refused to take the floor for a pre-season game, which was subsequently canceled. She had this to say at the time:
"I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season. I think we should take that much of a stand. She said she does not believe that the national anthem should be played at sporting events"
On July 7, 2022, she plead guilty to the drugs charges and is now waiting to learn her fate. The decision will anguish some and please others, it seems.
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