Outrage Grows within the US Over Brittney Griner’s Sentencing

The WNBA star Brittney Griner’s pals and colleagues expressed help and unhappiness for her after a Russian courtroom discovered her responsible of making an attempt to smuggle unlawful narcotics into Russia and sentenced her to 9 years in a penal colony.

“Simply actually feeling unhappy and feeling sick for Brittney and hoping that she will get residence as quickly as attainable,” mentioned Breanna Stewart, a four-time WNBA All-Star who had performed with Griner on the Russian staff UMMC Yekaterinburg since 2020. “Now that the trial is finished and the sentencing occurred, I do know she’s received to be in a really emotional state and simply need her to know that we’re nonetheless persevering with to do no matter we will to get her residence.”

Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17, when Russian customs officers at an airport close to Moscow mentioned they discovered cannabis oil in vape cartridges in her baggage. Her trial started on July 1 and the conviction had been broadly anticipated. The US State Division has mentioned that Griner is being wrongfully detained and that it has been working to barter her launch.

Griner’s household has sought assist from Invoice Richardson, the previous New Mexico governor who’s working to safe the discharge of Griner and of Paul Whelan, a former Marine who has been detained in Russia since 2018.

“Right now’s sentencing of Brittney Griner was extreme by Russian authorized requirements and goes to show what now we have recognized all alongside, that Brittney is getting used as a political pawn,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, mentioned on Twitter. “We respect and proceed to help the efforts of @POTUS and @SecBlinken to get a deal achieved swiftly to convey Brittney, Paul and all Individuals residence.”

What to Know Concerning the Brittney Griner Case

Moments after the decision, A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces tweeted “Free BG!” with an emoji of an orange coronary heart. Dijonai Carrington of the Connecticut Solar tweeted “praying so onerous for BG.”

The Phoenix Mercury launched an announcement calling Griner’s scenario a nightmare.

“Whereas we knew it was by no means the authorized course of that was going to convey our good friend residence, immediately’s verdict is a sobering milestone within the 168-day nightmare being endured by our sister, BG,” the Mercury’s assertion mentioned.

The WNBA gamers’ union posted an announcement on Twitter from its government director, Terri Carmichael Jackson, which known as the decision “unjust” and urged US officers to do all they’ll to convey Griner residence.

“Given her document of service on and off the courtroom, BG deserves to come back residence,” the assertion mentioned.

It then known as on the worldwide sporting group to face with Griner.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert launched a joint assertion saying: “The WNBA and NBA’s dedication to her secure return has not wavered, and it’s our hope that we’re close to the tip of this strategy of lastly bringing BG residence to the US.”

The American basketball star has endured months in a Russian jail on fees of smuggling cannabis oil into the nation.

Some NBA gamers weighed in as effectively.

“Smh 9 years…. Free BG,” Bam Adebayo of the Miami Warmth mentioned on Twitter.

Nets star Kyrie Irving tweeted: “What is really occurring with our Queen @brittneygriner @POTUS @VP? Please give us an replace.”

Consultant Colin Allred, Democrat of Texas, has been working to safe Griner’s launch since March.

“People should keep in mind that this conviction is all a part of a sham trial and Brittney was wrongfully detained,” Allred mentioned on Twitter. “It’s simply one other cynical manner for Russia to attempt to achieve leverage.”

Debbie Jackson, Griner’s highschool basketball coach, held again tears after studying of Griner’s verdict. Jackson recruited Griner, then a volleyball participant, to play basketball at Nimitz Excessive College in Houston, setting her on a path towards stardom on the courtroom.

“It makes me sick that that was the choice,” Jackson mentioned. “I used to be attempting to be optimistic, even totally conscious that once you’re coping with Russia, issues do not go the way in which you’d hope they’d.” She mentioned she hoped Griner “can stay hopeful that our State Division will work on a jail swap for her and different Individuals which are in jail over there.”

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