Over the weekend, the WNBA All-Star game took place in Chicago. As all eyes were on the best of the best, Brittney Griner’s teammates used that opportunity to raise awareness for the detained athlete. As previously reported by REVOLT, the Olympian has been in Russian custody since Feb. 17 for illegally traveling through an airport with a vape cartridge containing cannabis oil.
After a series of detainment extensions from Russian officials, it became apparent that the Phoenix Mercury center would not be back in time to join her teammates on the court. On June 22, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert discussed the organization’s decision to name Griner an honorary All-Star for this year’s game. “During each season of Brittney’s career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star … So it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today and we continue to work on her safe return to the U.S.,” Engelbert said.
On Sunday (July 10), Griner’s teammates wore jerseys with her name and number for all to see. Twelve-time WNBA All-Star Sue Bird told reporters, “Yeah, every now and then we’ll answer questions about All-Star and talk about basketball, but you’re going to see her name on the back of all of our shirts.” She continued, “We want it to always be there.” Griner’s name and number were also on the basketball court.
Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale said, “We have Brittney Griner masks, we have 42 on our shirts and I’m sure the rest of the league and people are wearing things with BG.” Engelbert joined in, adding, “She remains a huge priority for us, [and] continues to have our full support.” Many have called for the athlete’s release, including high-profile names like Roy Jones Jr. and Carmelo Anthony. Last week, Chris Brown spoke about her case, noting things would be different if she were a man. “If this was a male star athlete yall would be way more vocal and helpful. That shit lame as fuck. I wish I could really help her out,” he said in an Instagram Story post.
On July 7, Griner pleaded guilty. “I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law. I was in a rush packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bag,” the athlete said in Russian court. She will remain in custody for at least another six months and could face 10 years in prison.
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