It could be any WNBA player

MINNEAPOLIS – Two of Brittney Griner’s teammates on the US basketball team have broken their silence about the star player’s imprisonment in Russia.

Most WNBA players have been hesitant to talk about Griner being detained on drug charges in Russia, in hopes of avoiding the possibility of damaging her case.

“People are saying she’s 6-foot-9, she’s different. It’s really not about that,” American basketball player Angel McCoughtry said Wednesday at the team’s training camp in Minneapolis. “It could be any of us.”

Players are still discussing how to best help Griner in their community. WNBA players have been very cohesive in the past when rallying behind issues like voter registration and the Black Lives Matters movement.

During the first few weeks after Griner was detained, it was decided that they would be better off speaking less.

The Phoenix Mercury star was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport in mid-February. Russian authorities say a search of her luggage discovered vape boxes believed to contain oil extracted from cannabis, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Griner has returned home after the Russian Federation took a break for the FIBA ​​World Cup qualifying tournament.

“It’s important for us to go there. It’s BG, but it could be anyone,” said Breanna Stewart, earner, Breanna Stewart, who earned more than $1 million playing in Russia. over 1 million dollars to play in Russia. “WNBA players need to be appreciated in their own country and they won’t have to play abroad.”

Besides supporting Griner, Stewart also wants to help a charity the Mercury All-Star has long been involved with, the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Stewart said: “While BG is away, I want to support her and her philanthropic efforts and do what I can from an out-of-court perspective to help her and her family. .

Russia has been a popular destination for WNBA players like Stewart, McCoughtry and Griner over the past two decades because of the money they can make playing there in the winter.

The WNBA has made strides to increase player wages and find other ways to compensate players in the final collective bargaining agreement, approved in 2020. The contract runs until 2027, paying for players average $130,000, with top stars able to earn more than $500,000 through salaries, marketing deals, an in-season tournament, and bonuses.

The CBA also provides full pay during the players’ maternity leave, enhanced family benefits, travel standards and other health and fitness improvements.

The legal team for the two-time Olympic gold medalist has been quietly seeking Griner’s release and has refused to speak out about the case since her arrest was made public.

Of the thousands of US citizens arrested and imprisoned in foreign prisons, a small group has been designated by the US government as wrongful incarceration – the kind that has brought their cases to the attention of the government. and place them under the auspices of the Special Envoy of the President. for Hostage Affairs at the Department of State. The US government has yet to classify Griner’s case into that category.

Griner is not the only American detained in Russia. Former Marine Trevor Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2020 for assaulting police officers in Moscow. And the company’s security chief executive, Paul Whelan, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for espionage charges that his family and the US government say are false. American officials have publicly called on Moscow to release them. It could be any WNBA player

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