As the Boston Celtics continue their NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors, the basketball team wore black and orange “We Are BG” shirts in protest of WNBA star Brittney Griner’s ongoing detention in Russia.
The 31-year-old Team USA and Phoenix Mercury player has been in custody since February after Moscow airport officials allegedly found cannabis oil in her luggage. She plays in Russia in the offseason, as do a number of other WNBA stars. The U.S. State Department has classified Griner’s ongoing detainment of over 100 days as “wrongfully detained.”
Her detention came after the US and Women’s National Basketball Association officials urged Americans to leave Russia during the rising tensions over Ukraine, which Russia invaded on February 24.
“She’s been over there for an extended amount of time, and we feel enough is enough.”
Jaylen Brown on Russia holding Brittney Griner for months. pic.twitter.com/8Va9zPFwf4
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 4, 2022
The Celtics, who lead the Warriors 1-0 in the NBA Finals, wore the Griner T-shirts into the arena for practice on Saturday (June 4). They were organized by Celtics’ Player Rep Grant Williams.
“The shirts were super important not only showing our support for our sister that is detained over in Russia, Brittney Griner, we just wanted to show that togetherness and love that we have throughout not only the NBA but the WNBA,” said Williams, who coordinated with the WNBPA and NBPA for the shirts. “She’s been a vital part of the WNBA over years past, college, and in the amount of impact she’s had on young female athletes, USA and overseas.
“We hope to have her back in the U.S. and reunited with her family and do what she loves and bring that love and tenacity she always plays with on the court,” he added.
The shirts have a QR code on the back that links to an online petition to bring Griner home to the United States.
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Players who spoke up in support of Griner included Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.