May 7, 2022
Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury has been under arrest in Russia since mid-February on drug charges. She's been detained for going on three months and, as far as we know, there has not been much movement toward getting her released.
The WNBA season begins on Friday and the Mercury have been preparing to play not knowing when, or if, Griner will be able to rejoin them. And more important, Griner's family and friends continue their private vigils hoping for the best possible outcome.
On Tuesday, there was a hint of change. The U.S. Department of State reportedly reclassified Griner as being "wrongfully detained," meaning a special presidential envoy will become directly involved in leading an interagency team toward securing her release.
Here's a rundown of the latest developments:
In a column posted Friday by USA Today, Lindsay Schnell writes that the best way for Griner's peers in the WNBA to pay tribute is to vow to no longer play in authoritarian countries in the offseason — because that's what led to this situation in the first place.
"WNBA players are known for being passionately outspoken and active when it comes to social justice issues — shouldn't that extend to other countries?," Schnell wrote.
“We’ve been going over there with our blinders on,” Mike Cound, a longtime agent who represents dozens of WNBA and professional players, told Schnell. “I’m just as guilty as (any other agent). We’ve all been sending people over there knowing who (Russian Federation President Vladimir) Putin is. We keep sending players because the money has been so good and Putin was just masking the monster that he is. It’s an ethical dilemma, a gray area.”
Source: Yahoo Sports (Photo by: Chicago Tribune)