Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko (AP)
By Clifton Dutton and Rachel Patrick
Members of the Maroon Tiger are writing letters in support of beloved WNBA star, Brittney Griner. All members of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) are welcome to do so as well as we all remain patient in hopes to see her come home.
Griner remains “wrongfully detained” according to the United States after receiving a nine-year prison sentence for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil. She mistakenly carried two cartridges with her in a Russian airport on February 17.
In addition, the Russian courts have also been in search of payments from Griner. Judge Anna Sotnikova delivered her the sentence and a fine of 1 million rubles, which is about $16,400. Griner is firm that “it was an honest mistake”.
“It’s heavy. It’s just heavy y’all”. Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said. “Y’all asking these questions don’t really take away from our trauma. You just add to our trauma. . .this our sister.”
A Russian court rejected Griner’s appeal on October 25, 2022, in opposition to her sentence as she was to be placed in a penal colony as stated in the Washington Post report.
“If it was Lebron, he’d be home.” Kim Mulkey said, Griner’s head coach.
According to CNN, negotiations between the Biden administration and Russia for a potential trade deal to exchange Griner and Paul Whelan, an additional American wrongfully detained. They have offered them for Viktour Bout, a Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the United States, yet the status remains uncertain.
Griner is an eight-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. Though she’s 32, she’s made a mark in the league as she was headed into being a nine-year veteran with championship aspirations.
Many have questioned what she was doing there in the first place even though this has been a common travel spot for her. At this point, many people don’t know that she’s been to this country before without any problems. Luckily, you have us to tell you why.
Russia and several international countries pay higher salaries than the WNBA, which is why it is not uncommon for WNBA players to participate in an additional season overseas.
Griner has a history of going to Russia for basketball and was making the same trip again as she normally did for off-season breaks. She was traveling to compete for the women’s UMMC Yekaterinburg basketball team.
The maximum base salary for the 2022 WNBA season touched $228,000, whereas in Russia, Griner may supplement her earnings as a professional athlete substantially as discussed on The View with special guest, Griner’s wife, Cherrelle Griner.
Cherelle Griner encouraged supporters to continue writing letters for her wife so that her story is not lost in the fight to bring her home. She is very worried for her and feels her mental health may be in danger due to the circumstances and unknown treatment she’s been receiving.
Copy Edited By Clifton Dutton