Thursday a Russian judge sentences WNBA star and US team Britney Griner to nine years in prison for drug possession and smuggling.
In a case that quickly became highly politically charged, Griner was “wrongfully detained,” according to U.S. diplomats, after police at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. This amount is less than one gram. Griner pleaded guilty, probably seeking to have her sentence commuted (in a process whose outcome was predetermined), but still approached the maximum the judge could charge. Negotiations on the exchange of prisoners with the participation of Griner continue.
The basketball world and not only reacted with shock and supported Griner. What follows is a sample of this reaction.
“Today’s verdict and sentencing is unreasonable and unfortunate, but not unexpected, and Brittney Griner continues to be detained in error,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a joint statement. “The commitment of the WNBA and the NBA to her safe return is unwavering and we hope we are close to completing this process to finally bring BG home to the United States.”
“Today, American Britney Griner was sentenced to prison, another reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully holding Britney in custody,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates.”
We are BG. pic.twitter.com/xFLu0a2aSB
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) August 4, 2022
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) August 4, 2022
— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) August 4, 2022
— Chelsea Gray (@cgray209) August 4, 2022
With a broken heart for BG 💔
— Michaela Onyenwere 🤍 (@monyenwere_) August 4, 2022
We are BG. pic.twitter.com/7NdvLatuuP
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) August 4, 2022
Devastated. I pray that these negotiations will be quick so that Britney will return home immediately. #WeAreBG
— Harrison Barnes (@hbarnes) August 4, 2022
No way they did that with BG!!!! Never!!!! God bless her please
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) August 4, 2022
FREE BG FREE BG FREE BG !!
— JJJ (@jarenjacksonjr) August 4, 2022
Praying for BG man…it breaks my heart seeing her right now 😔😔😔
— Lexie Brown (@Lexiebrown) August 4, 2022
Thinking about BG and how much light she tirelessly brought to everyone around her. I hope even after the verdict @POTUS & @White House will continue to do everything in their power to bring Britney Griner and all other Americans detained abroad home.
— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) August 4, 2022
FREE BG 🧡💜
— Jaden Ivey (@IveyJaden) August 4, 2022
Jesus Christ! This is wrong man… bring BG home. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 https://t.co/zjfnbTwhv2
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 4, 2022
— A11Even (@KyrieIrving) August 4, 2022