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Celtics Stars Show Support for Imprisoned Brittney Griner

Jayson Tatum (left) and Grant Williams (right) of the Celtics

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Jayson Tatum (left) and Grant Williams (right) of the Celtics

Back in early June, when efforts to promote the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from a prison in Russia were playing out across the basketball landscape, the Celtics took to the podium during a jersey-wearing NBA Finals media day “We Are BG” font, showing their support for their fellow professional advocates.

Two months later, the unthinkable happened: This week, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court for trying to bring cannabis oil into the country after landing at Moscow airport. The decision caused outrage across the country.

Celtics striker Grant Williams was among those shocked by the verdict.

“No way!” Williams tweeted. “9 years? Let’s bring our sister and friend home”.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum, responding to the news, tweeted three pairs of praying hands.

Former Celtics big man, Kendrick Perkins also commented, tweeting, “My God! This is not the right man… take BG home. “


Kyrie Asks Biden For ‘Updates’

The Griner case has become an important topic around the basketball world, for a number of reasons. There have been speculations that Griner’s status as a woman has dampened the US government’s push to secure her return, although there have been objections to that view.

However, her coach, Vanessa Nygaard of the Phoenix Mercury, spoke about the situation last month.

“If it was LeBron, he’d be at home, wouldn’t he?” Nygaard asked. “It is a statement of the value of women. It was a statement of worth as a Negro. It’s a statement about the worth of a gay person. All those things. We know that, and so it’s something that hurts a little more.”

Former Celtics star Kyrie Irving called on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this week to find out what can be done about Griner’s situation.

“What is really going on with our Queen @brittneygriner, @POTUS @VP ?,” Irving tweeted. “Please provide us with Updates.”

Biden released a statement on the day of Griner’s sentencing, saying, “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence, another reminder of what the world already knows: Russia is holding Brittney in custody. wrong way. That is unacceptable, and I urge Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every avenue possible to get Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”


Becky Hammon Asks Russia To ‘Do The Right Thing’

Griner, 31, is a nine-year WNBA veteran and seven-time All-Star in the league. She twice won the league’s Defensive Player award and led Phoenix to last season’s WNBA Finals, where Mercury lost to Chicago Sky.

WNBA players often play in Europe during the league’s off-season to boost their salaries, and at the time of her arrest, Griner was on her way to join her Russian team, BC UMMC Ekaterinburg in Yekaterinburg, part of the Russian Premier League.

One of the most prominent Russian-American players is former Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, now head coach of WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. She represented Russia in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and in an interview with Reuters this week, pleaded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to release Griner.

“It’s obviously very close to home for me and so I’m just asking the Russian government to do the right thing. It is never too late to do the right thing,” Hammon told Reuters. “We ask for clemency. We are asking for grace. And we are asking to bring BG home.”

https://heavy.com/sports/boston-celtics/grant-williams-brittney-griner-tatum/ Celtics Stars Show Support for Imprisoned Brittney Griner

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