Brittney Griner was sentenced today to 9 years in a Russian prison for cannabis use. It isn’t the outcome that her family and fans wanted for the WNBA star athlete, who friends affectionally call her, BG.” Terri Jackson, Executive Director of the WNBA Player’s Association was interviewed on a MSNBC about her thoughts on the verdict. She appealed for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken to negotiate on Griner’s behalf as she is wrongfully detained and being used as a pawn by Vladimir Putin.
Griner is a global sports icon. She profusely apologized from a cage in court where she was visibly distraught, overcome by the moment. This is an unfortunate turn of events that could’ve been avoided, which makes this even worse. According to Griner, she was given a medical prescription for cannabis in the USA. She shouldn’t have ever bought the substance into Russia knowing the laws prohibits it.
The outpouring and concern from her supporters are commendable. Yet, they must understand that Russia will hold her accountable for her actions. High profile individuals are targets throughout the world. As Russia was on a brink of war, Griner actually packed hashish oil, and vape paraphernalia in her luggage on her return home. To say that was an lapse in judgement would be an understatement!
Paul Whelan, along with other Americans are also imprisoned in Russia and have been for many years. Whelan, a Michigan resident, was accused of espionage during the Trump Administration. They aren’t high-profile, but they have families who’ve been championing for their return. Whelen’s siblings said they only recently spoken with President Joe Biden after they expressed dismay that Griner’s family had spoken with both VP Kamala Harris and President Biden!
The possible trade swap with Whelan & Griner for the scum, nicknamed, “Merchant of Death,” Viktor Bout is a risky move. If Bout is released, Russia will surely use him as a resource for the war on Ukraine. I am not in agreement with this trade. Bout is a dangerous man who has plotted to kill Americans in the past, and funded terrorists’ organizations. Surely, if he’s the bargaining chip, shouldn’t the White House have demanded the release of other Americans?
There is a price to pay for celebrity, and for Americans who travel abroad. It is imperative that you make decisions that don’t put a target on your back. Was the cannabis puff worth the cost of freedom? Griner’s poor decision making has now become a sense of urgency for the Biden Administration, which is burdensome as we await her release. This isn’t about Griner’s race as a Black woman which has been thrown around in the WNBA/NBA community. Or her sexuality. It is about a poor choice Griner made. God willing, she’ll be home soon.