I can’t imagine how Brittney Griner feels, sitting in a box too small for her 6-foot-9 frame—wondering if she will be there for nine and a half years—hoping to see her wife, friends, and teammates and return to America to play the sport she loves again.
What does Brittney do now?
She waits. Ms. Griner’s attorneys, Maria Blagovdina and Alexander Boykov, were outraged by the verdict and said in a statement to CNN that they would appeal.
Where is the support?
I’m going to say this because we all know it’s true. If it were LeBron James or Tom Brady, even Aaron Rodgers or Giannis Antetokounmpo, ESPN and every sports news outlet would be running it on a 24-hour loop until they were safely home.
Daily sports news are the continuous questions of the NFL and Deshaun Watson‘s sentence or where and when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are being traded. Where are the frantic tweets like those wanting to know when the Knicks will give in to Danny Ainge for Donovan Mitchell? Brittney Griner isn’t even trending daily.
The sports community worldwide should be up in arms about this situation. Players of all sports should be “hands off” in this world of one-upmanship between nations. How can a player ever feel safe again, especially in Russia?
SportsCenter should have a display with a count of how many days Brittney’s been “wrongfully detained” in a Russian prison.
Where is the NBA?
No matter what type of protest or boycott the NBA has ever done, the WNBA has always backed them up. In my opinion, they are the most outspoken of the two leagues. The activism of the WNBA has changed this nation. Just as the WNBA is there for them, the NBA should be up in arms for their sister.
On August 4, the day of the sentencing, during a game between the Phoenix Mercury, Brittney’s team, and the Connecticut Sun, the Sun stood in solidarity with their sisters with 42 seconds of silence. There was also a statement of support from the WNBA, which read in part:
Tonight, members of the Connecticut Sun join our colleagues on the Phoenix Mercury at half court for 42 seconds, Brittney Griner’s jersey number, to recognize the gravity of the moment and collectively send her strength.
It was a very touching statement and tribute, and you can read it in its entirety at the link above.
What is next for Brittney Griner?
In a Sports Illustrated/Associated Press article dated July 28, the Russian government stated that “a possible prisoner swap with the United States involving American basketball star Brittney Griner needs to be negotiated quietly without fanfare.”
The negotiations may be done quietly, but we can send our support to Ms. Griner as loud as we can. We must throw our support behind her, and maybe, the world sports community will do it too. We are BG!